Section 61 – Pretty Legal Loophole

Guest post

Section 61 refers to the Immigration Act 2009. It provides an avenue for people who are in NZ unlawfully to get back onto a lawful visa.

If your temporary (work, study, visitor) visa expires, and you have not yet left New Zealand or received a new visa then technically you are unlawfully in New Zealand.

A person who doesn’t hold a current can apply to Immigration NZ using Section 61. Immigration NZ has no obligation to consider the request, and no reason provided for their decision to approve or decline the request.  

If already under a deportation order Section 61 can’t help.

So, in other words, over-stayers have a “get out of jail card”.

So who and how many of these request using Section 61 have there been Since April 2006/07 there have been 34,154 applications for Work Visas under Section 61, of those 32,376 were successful. So thirty-two thousand who should have left when their time was up instead they rewarded with a visa giving them the ability to work.

The only consolation is the number of approvals has dropped over the years. It will be interesting to see if this increases when the current large crop of arrivals on visas start to expire over the next couple of years.

The thirty-two thousand covers 131 countries, so the word is out there what a lovely generous country we are.

The top nationalities who use this loophole to remain are from:

China 4,038
Fiji 2,848
Great Britain 2,821
India 2,689
Samoa 2,635
Tonga 2,631
Philippines 2,304
South Africa 1,455

On top of that, another 1386 obtained a Resident permit using Section 61 and Section 35a (Ministerial approval)

The worrying thing these are people who fronted up to Immigration NZ, how many out there hiding away with help from relatives and friends?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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