- The appellant, from the Philippines, used a false identity for New Zealand visas.
- INZ declined her residence application due to character concerns.
- The Tribunal recognised special circumstances, especially concerning her New Zealand-citizen child.
- It recommended the Minister of Immigration consider granting residence as an exception.
The appellant, a 31-year-old citizen of the Philippines, first entered New Zealand in October 2013 using a false name and birth date, having previously worked in Hong Kong under the same false identity since 2008. The fraudulent identity was initially adopted due to age restrictions for obtaining a Hong Kong work visa. In New Zealand, she obtained work visas based on her partnership with a New Zealand citizen, whom she met online in 2012 and married in 2019. Their child, a New Zealand citizen, was born in January 2015. In 2016, the appellant revealed her true identity to her partner and returned to the Philippines to correct her identity documents.
Prior to Appeal
The appellant applied for residence under the Family (Partnership) category on 2 July 2019. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) raised concerns regarding her character and eligibility in January 2020 due to her past false identity usage. The appellant sought a character waiver, providing explanations and highlighting her family situation. Her counsel provided additional information about the couple's New Zealand-citizen child, family unity, and conditions in the Philippines.
Immigration New Zealand Assessment
INZ conducted a character waiver assessment, acknowledging the seriousness of providing false identity information in four previous visa applications between 2013 and 2015. The assessment also considered the interests of the appellant's husband and daughter, both New Zealand citizens, but found no significant potential contribution from the appellant to New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand Decision
On 19 October 2020, INZ declined the appellant's application due to her failure to meet good character requirements and the absence of a granted character waiver, underlining the integrity of New Zealand's immigration system.
The Tribunal acknowledged the appellant's past actions but noted her plausible explanation for initially adopting a false identity. It emphasised the best interests of the appellant's daughter, a New Zealand citizen entitled to New Zealand’s education and health care systems. The Tribunal recognised that the family's future in New Zealand depended on the appellant's residence, given there was no other pathway for her.
The Tribunal identified special circumstances, including the appellant's long-standing relationship with her New Zealand-citizen husband, their genuine and stable partnership, and the importance of the daughter's upbringing in New Zealand. It noted the daughter's health challenges and the family's separation due to the appellant's lack of New Zealand residence.
The Tribunal confirmed INZ's decision as correct but recommended considering the appellant's case as an exception due to special circumstances. It emphasised the best interests of the appellant's daughter and the family unity, recommending the Minister of Immigration to consider granting the appellant residence as an exception to the instructions.