E27 Transcript

Introduction to Immigration Law - With Michelle Chen

E27 Transcript


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Transcript Commences

Chris Patterson 00:06:
Hello and welcome to the Law Down Under Podcast with barrister Chris Patterson, where we'll give you insights into the law in New Zealand and Australia, its application, and future. Each episode features a new guest who will inspire interest in the law and give you a greater understanding of the legal issues that help shape our justice system here down under. We thank you for tuning in and hope you enjoy the podcast. Welcome to the Law Down Under Podcast. Today in the studio, I have with me Michelle Chen, who's a specialist immigration lawyer and the director of MC Legal based in Christchurch. Having grown up with migrant parents, Michelle is driven by her personal experiences to help individuals and businesses alike with immigration-related matters. Michelle is bilingual. She's worked and studied in China and has traveled to countries such as Russia, Tajikistan, and Vietnam. In 2022, she started her own immigration practice, being MC Legal. She now works closely with businesses in Christchurch and throughout New Zealand to ensure their ongoing immigration compliance and with individuals who are going to call New Zealand home. Michelle, welcome.

Michelle Chen 01:09:
Thank you, Chris. Thank you for the introduction. It's a pleasure to be here.

Chris Patterson 01:12:
Happy to have you on the podcast. Super excited about talking immigration law. But before we do, Tajikistan, am I pronouncing that right?

Michelle Chen 01:21:
Yes. Is this correct? Yes, Tajikistan.

Chris Patterson 01:24:
Okay. Look, I'm showing my geographical ignorance here. I'm assuming it's a former Soviet bloc country. We're essentially

Michelle Chen 01:33:
Yes, that's right. I'm Chris. It's actually just and Kyrgyzstan. And Kyrgyzstan is right under Kazakhstan. Yeah,

Chris Patterson 01:42:
these are the three stones yet. Few others.

Michelle Chen 01:46:
Those are the ones that have been too though.

Chris Patterson 01:47:
Okay, so I don't want this podcast to be about Tajikistan. But I'm just slightly intrigued. Why would you go there?

Michelle Chen 01:58:
It was part of an intrepid tour actually, right before COVID. We booked it in. And we didn't know anything about it. And actually, we booked it then, as part of the original tour, which included Kazakhstan. And the reason why we went to Kazakhstan was because of Borat. So, of

Chris Patterson 02:14:
course, of course, you went there because of Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen. He's gonna He's got to get people to parts of the world that they never expect. Yeah.

Michelle Chen 02:21:
And it was the gigas that was just a nice little country that we hadn't heard of it all from New Zealand and we realized that 80% of the country is mountainous. Well done know that. Okay,

Chris Patterson 02:32:
80% of mountains. Okay. No, must be very fit people very fit. Okay. It's their altitude as well. High altitude? Yeah. Oh, there you go. And so look, what was your number one take out of visiting Tajikistan enjoy the most,

Michelle Chen 02:48:
I enjoyed how it was very humbling when I went there. And I realized that there are some countries or regions in the world where, you know, like, people try to get ahead and try to get out of their situation by upskilling. And working hard. But unfortunately, I feel as if once in a while the countries like to Tajikistan will be very difficult for someone to be able to migrate from Tajikistan to New Zealand, as they don't have the financial background. The

Chris Patterson 03:20:
guy so the meritocracy not working in terms of immigration in the look, a great segue, let's talk immigration, because that's what this podcast is about. But look, you know, let's, let's talk first of all about, look, I'm going to start off at a really high level, you know, there's got to be some listeners here, who are immigration specialists. So this isn't going to be news to them about what I'm about to ask. There's also going to be other people who, you know, will have a sense about immigration, they'll know that people, you know, come to New Zealand, they're not New Zealand citizens that, you know, they wanted to make New Zealand home, they'll understand that to be immigration, and they'll understand that there are laws. Okay, but But let me ask the question, what what's the underlying purpose of our, our immigration laws? like, Where's where's the starting point of where we find it? I assume it's the Immigration Act 2009. What's, what's the purpose of it?

Michelle Chen 04:10:
It's to, I guess, monitor and regulate the control of people coming into New Zealand by balancing, like you mentioned earlier, national interest, and what's good for New Zealand against what's what people can bring into the country. And the individuals themselves, you know, individuals themselves. That's the overriding, I guess, purpose,

Chris Patterson 04:29:
and who determines what's good for the country? Under the Act, you know, under our laws, like who determines that? Well,

Michelle Chen 04:37:
I guess it'll be whichever governments and how, okay, so that's the state

Chris Patterson 04:41:
and government that's, that's controlling the state at the time. Okay, well, we've just had an election, we might talk about what the future holds with if there is a coalition formed a national Act and what they might look like, spend a little bit of time having a look at their immigration policies, but let's talk about that towards the The end, okay, as to what the future might look let's just current let's just stay in the present and say, Okay, who the participants are now immigration system you've already mentioned, you know, the state the government have mentioned immigrate individuals who are wanting to immigrate to New Zealand. You know, are there any other participants in our immigration system?

Michelle Chen 05:21:
One recently, I guess with a recent company would be dislike New Zealand Qualifications Authority, so insecure, a different agency, and they regulate and assess which qualifications are exempt from assessment or which issue require further delving into to assess what level of skill or qualifications individuals come into the country with?

Chris Patterson 05:43:
Okay, so I guess we're talking about pathways and categories. So this is skilled migrant? What what are the? What? If someone is turning up at the border? Or they're wanting to turn up at the border and move to New Zealand? What are the pathways that they can apply? Because, you know, they can't just literally turn up and say, Hey, I'm here, New Zealand's now my home. So how do they go about the process of, of, you know, being able to live in New Zealand,

Michelle Chen 06:14:
I think the first point of call is actually going on to the immigration New Zealand website. And it's relatively easy to navigate, if you understand it, but they tried to see that what pathways or options are available. So some are some some countries, such as like the UK, or America, individuals that are wanting just to have a visit to New Zealand travel around a bit, then come here on a New Zealand electronic travel authority, which is something you can apply that 72 hours before you come in to your flight. So it's visa free, visitor visa three months straightforward. But for others, such as those from China, or India or South America, they will need a visitor visa so they can make an application that allows someone to come into the country and have a look around. Okay, all right.

Chris Patterson 07:04:
Well, to get the New Zealand experience to you know, we welcome them into our country, I look, hey, the whole large part of our economy, of course, is based on tourism. Yes, and people coming and visiting New Zealand and spending a lot of money. It's questionable how efficient it is. I mean, I'm not going to single any particular country out. But you know, we have some backpackers who are tuned up from somewhere. And they might not spend a lot of money in New Zealand, but they'll use a lot of our let's say, our facilities will take an area close to my heart. You know, for example, we've got great conservation lanes, and it costs a lot of money for the New Zealand taxpayer, to maintain, just take our great walks, for example. So we really want our visitors to come here and spend a lot of money because tourism is such a large part, but not every tourist is as the same. So the visitor's visa, you've said that some countries, they can just 72 hours, do an online pretty much be granted a visa What Why are other people from other countries? Why do they have to go through a more rigorous process? What's the reason for the disparity?

Michelle Chen 08:22:
I guess it would probably depend on the country, the country's agreements with each other, and whether or not they have these sort of risk assessments based on where they're from.

Chris Patterson 08:38:
How is risk assessed? On what basis? Why is someone from the UK less risky than, say, for example, someone from... I don't know, again, I'm not trying to pick out countries, but I'll just say Iran.

Michelle Chen 08:53:
Well, I guess with the UK, it's English speaking for one. Some of the qualifications, like I mentioned earlier, are assessed by NZQA, but that wouldn't matter for a visitor. Why would that matter if they just wanted to turn up and backpack around the South Island for 30 days?

Chris Patterson 09:12:
I guess it's something that immigration assesses to make sure it's relatable, comparable between different countries, such as financial background, banking systems, etc. It's easier to verify.

Chris Patterson 10:00:
Well, let's talk about the more permanent residency and citizenship. Let's talk about working. Say someone wants to come to New Zealand, they want to work here. What sort of pathways are there?

Michelle Chen 10:19:
There are different pathways. One is through working holiday visas. For example, the UK has access to a 24-month working holiday visa, allowing individuals to work for any employer in the country without accreditation. Another pathway is the Accredited Employer Work Visa, where an individual obtains a job offer from an accredited employer and works with that employer full-time in a specific position and location.

Chris Patterson 11:26:
Does the Accredited Employer Work Visa create a closer, more dependent relationship between the employer and the overseas worker, compared to the more open work visa?

Michelle Chen 12:06:
Yes, the purpose of the Accredited Employer Work Visa was to reduce migrant exploitation by monitoring the employer rather than the worker. However, it does make it less likely for the worker to leave that employer since they must find another accredited employer offering the same role and pay rate.

Chris Patterson 12:39:
Does this create a situation where workers are more vulnerable to exploitation by accredited employers?

Michelle Chen 13:22:
Yes, there have been reports of migrant exploitation by some accredited employers, especially in industries like construction.

Chris Patterson 14:06:
What are some areas in which an employer can exploit a migrant worker?

Michelle Chen 14:28:
One common form of exploitation is migrants paying for their employment, as seen in recent articles where licensed immigration advisers were paid between 20,000 to 40,000 per position and visa.

Chris Patterson 16:27:
I guess at stake is New Zealand's wider reputation in the international community. If we're not looking after migrant workers and we're exploiting them, that can't be good for our reputation, do you agree?

Michelle Chen 16:52:
Yes, absolutely. It's the basis of our immigration system, and if trust in its integrity is lost, people may not want to come to New Zealand.

Chris Patterson 16:39:
Okay, well, I want to talk about the number of people coming to New Zealand in a moment. But I do want to stick on this exploitation issue a little bit more. Migrant workers are going to be more vulnerable than a New Zealand citizen who's working here in their own country, okay. Presumably, because you've got language issues, you'd agree.

Michelle Chen 17:59:
No, I definitely agree with you there, Chris. And I think that's one of the things that is part of the accreditation policy, that they put a big emphasis on settlement services and actually saying to employers, hey, if you're going to recruit an overseas worker, make sure that within one month of them arriving, they are provided with lease settlement services, for example, Community Law, Citizens Advice Bureaux, how to set up an IRD account, a bank account, and various community groups. I know that and I'm on Facebook, I've had lots of clients reach out to me and say, they've actually seen my name pop up, and you know, Brits and Americans in Christchurch, for example. So there is worth technology, it's, I guess, there's not as much of a barrier as there used to be. And migrants, they tend to be a bit tech savvy now, and they can actually reach out and join various groups where they could ask others who have been through the same stages of the migration process for tips and guidance.

Chris Patterson 19:39:
I assume that there are migrant support groups, probably based on nationality, like I mean, as they may not know, but I'll just take South Africa, for example. If your family is immigrating from South Africa, and you just don't have those networks I talked about before, are there South African migrant networks in New Zealand? Is that a thing?

Michelle Chen 20:11:
I actually spoke with a lovely lady at a conference on Saturday, the Girls in Business Conference, and she's from South Africa. But she had migrated to New Zealand about 30 years ago now, but she had said that yes, so they tend to have or form groups and I keep repeating Facebook, but Facebook for one is great because it's usually regulated. But migrants from those particular nationalities can join and be part of that kind of community group in New Zealand.

Chris Patterson 21:36:
I guess going from 180 to 6 sounds like quite a simplification, or am I missing something?

Michelle Chen 21:36:
It's definitely a huge change in policy, and it's really targeting, I guess, higher skilled individuals, and those that have at least a bachelor's or higher qualification. If they are a professional, say, a registered teacher, then that pathway could be one that's probably easier than, say, the green list.

Chris Patterson 22:36:
I assume once that's approved, they have a little ceremony, you know, they'll turn up at the town hall with the mayor, and they'll say an oath. I've never been to one, but I hear that's what happens.

Michelle Chen 23:00:
I actually haven't been to one either. But I spoke with someone a few months ago who attended one, and they said their friend obtained a little native cloak. So that was a nice way to welcome them into the country after that whole process.

Chris Patterson 23:15:
Going back maybe, I don't know, 8 years ago, I guess, that he just simply obtained New Zealand citizenship by some means. Doesn't really spend any time here, but he's got a passport. Apparently, New Zealand passports are our value. Are you aware of that, or am I just doing a sort of mystery?

Michelle Chen 24:06
I'm not aware of that particular situation. But you might be mentioning the investor categories. Well, I guess that's probably how it got out. Yeah, there used to be the investor one and two. But now it's revamped, changed into the active investor plus, and

Chris Patterson 24:25
Yeah, so what's the difference between the previous and the active investor? What were the main differences between those? Yeah,

Michelle Chen 24:33
so when I first started practicing, I think the investor tier category was the net value of $1.5 million and

Chris Patterson 24:44
1.5 million. Yeah, business. It's less than the price of a house and growing.

Michelle Chen 24:50
That's changed now. That increased to about 3 million. And there was a two-stage process for the investor two. So that was an expression of interest? So making sure that you've got ticked off, and then immigration will assess your application and they invite you to apply. The investor while was, I think 10 million. Yeah, yeah. So that's, so those two categories are now being scrapped. Now, it's called the active investor. So this is more focused on, I think it's weighted, but up to about five 15 million for individual individuals to bring into the country. And if they are more actively involved in some of the New Zealand entities, which New Zealand Trade and Enterprise provides, these companies that they encourage investors to invest the money in, they might be able to just invest 5 million, and that will be equated to the equivalent of 15. Okay,

Chris Patterson 25:50
well, I mean, presumably, this is a way of increasing the amount of available capital in New Zealand by bringing in money from overseas, other than flooding our banking system for people to take mortgages out. So these investors, they come into the country, they've got lots of money. Are there any particular do they have to put the money into something? Or can they just go and buy $15 million worth of rental properties in South Auckland?

Michelle Chen 26:25
Yeah, so the purpose of this particular policy is to encourage investment into New Zealand entities. So say the tech sector, they really require the funding for growth. So

Chris Patterson 26:39
little startups and startups, yeah. Okay. So it's actually putting money into creating jobs. And I guess, net value for New Zealand businesses, rather than saying, Yeah, I've got 15 million sitting in a bank account with one of the major banks here, I'm just going to earn interest on it. I'm not going to let it be used for anything. Exactly. Okay. Oh, look, I think when we get into talking about the future, I think national is his policy on, particularly the tech sector. So come back to that a little bit later. All right. Okay. Let's talk about the numbers. Go out to the Stats New Zealand website. And it was reported back in June that migrant arrivals year-to-date June were 195,000, up to 219%. That's extraordinary, that there are effectively more than the population of our fourth-largest city turning up at our border in a 12-month period. I mean, it just to me, that's mind-blowing. I saw that Stuff three weeks ago said that they think that Stats NZ have underestimated that. And that actually, in terms of net migration, 110,000 minutes, the population of Dunedin, has smashed previous records. This is like a decade of records. There's a migration boom going on. There must be good for immigration workers, no?

Michelle Chen 28:26
Absolutely. Like Christmas has come early, yeah.

Chris Patterson 28:32
There must be. If there's someone out there listening thinking of a career, seems to be a lot of work for people helping migrants, with 110,000 net, you know, this is people coming in, less people going out. So, you know, nearly 200,000 people, great for immigration lawyers, but you don't want to say, due to the housing market, we do these people, where do they live? How are we housing them?

Michelle Chen 29:03
I guess that's one of the biggest challenges that we've seen in the South Island, especially because that's where a lot of visitors go to when they want to see New Zealand. Not saying that the North Island isn't worthy of a visit, but for example, Queenstown, huge outcry for workers, but there's no houses available for the workers to live in. Well, you're

Chris Patterson 29:27
right. I mean, I think Queenstown is probably more extreme. You know, stories of migrant workers loving it, you know, sleeping in their cars because there just literally is no accommodation for them, or

Michelle Chen 29:42
they have to live very rural and say commute an hour and a half. We were on the Otago Rail Trail recently, and a lot of the workers from small town Markel, they were commuting about an hour and a half to two hours just to get into work in Queenstown. It's incredible. Yeah.

Chris Patterson 30:02
Look, I guess also, you know, you could understand why a young New Zealand couple, you know, wanting to get into the housing market and, you know, really busting the gut to get a deposit together, and then competing with wealthy overseas migrants for a limited housing stock, why they might feel a little bit hard done by. Yeah, I mean, that's the policy, you know, the government sets the policy and away we go. New Zealand businesses clearly need more people. Plus, we're also an underpopulated country. I mean, you'd agree with that we've got a large geographical, you know, relatively speaking amount of country, lots of resources. And you know, we've only got 5 million people here. I mean, you compare it to Holland, 18 million people with the landmass of effectively Te Ika-a-Māui. So can you see a change in policy anytime soon to limit? I guess Winston Peters would probably like to see that happening. I don't know if it will change his policy. But can you see any change in that in the future, with respect to the number of migrants coming into New Zealand?

Michelle Chen 31:21
I guess, potentially more red tape, more focus on the high-value migration. So those that are more high-skilled coming into the country.

Chris Patterson 31:35
But not the numbers overall?

Michelle Chen 31:36
The numbers? No, I think this is probably after a few years of the country being closed as well and people wanting to come to visit family and friends in New Zealand. That's also probably adding to those numbers.

Chris Patterson 31:51
But those numbers are based on people who are intending to stay in New Zealand for more than 12 months. So we're not talking about someone just turning up, you know, grandparents turning up to visit the grandchildren for three weeks or a month. Yeah, yeah, okay. Okay. So I mean, that, you know, visitors' numbers are way more than 200,000. There we go. Okay. Someone's applied for a work visa or residency, and it's been declined. And of course, the application's to Immigration New Zealand. Does Immigration New Zealand need to provide reasons for the decision? How does it work? For

Michelle Chen 32:28
residency? Yes, they have to outline any concerns that they have about the application before they make a decline. And then as part of the decline letter, they have to explain the reasons for it. So absolutely, yeah. Right. So at least there are, for example, if they're based offshore and they apply for a temporary visa, Immigration doesn't have to give you an opportunity to respond to any concerns. Okay. All right. So

Chris Patterson 32:53
Let's talk about, I mean, there seem to be two outcomes here: temporary visa, there's no reasons they need to be provided if someone's applying from overseas. What rights does that type of individual have to challenge Immigration New Zealand's decision to decline, or is there any right to challenge that?

Michelle Chen 33:21
Not when they're based offshore, unfortunately. So Immigration takes a more face value approach. For example, the visitor visa is filed offshore. And I've been seeing a few of them being declined because, say, they don't meet the genuine reasons or, you know, they might not return back to their home country. It's a more common reason for the decline.

Chris Patterson 33:44
But they don't have to give reasons, they can literally just say your application's declined.

Michelle Chen 33:53
Yeah, they do usually give reasons, but I don't have to give you an opportunity to respond.

Chris Patterson 33:57
I can say yes or no, no, no right to respond, but they will give some reasons. Yeah. Okay. Well, what's to stop someone, let's just say, you know, I'll just take China, for example, someone's in China, they want to apply for temporary work visa, they get a letter saying, look, it's declined, we think that you may not leave the country at the end of your visa. Well, couldn't that person instruct a lawyer in New Zealand to say, look, I want a high court judge to look at this on a judicial review.

Michelle Chen 34:24
Yeah, I've never had anyone they've actually wanted to challenge in the high court if they're based offshore. The natural process, usually, which is what I've been saying recently as well, if they've been declined a visa and they're in their home country, then they can instruct someone in New Zealand, say, for example, me or another immigration lawyer, and the lawyer will review the application and see if there's anything missing. And the more likely approach would be to file a brand new application. Alright,

Chris Patterson 34:55
so just really trying to fix up any shortfalls on it. Yeah,

Michelle Chen 34:59
so yeah, that's the more I guess more common approach. Yeah, I found Yeah.

Chris Patterson 35:04
Okay. All right. Well, that. Yeah, that's interesting. So now let's just talk about residency because they do have to provide an opportunity to respond. So is it almost like a preliminary decision? Does it, does Immigration New Zealand send This is our preliminary decision to decline your application for residency, but we want to give you so many days to provide any comments you've got before we finalize it? Is that how it works?

Michelle Chen 35:27
The process is once they've Yeah, so once you've filed an application that gets in front of a case officer, they review it, if there's any concerns that have say, for example, a very common one would be if a client is facing charges in a criminal court, such as drunk driving, for example, they have to give that person an opportunity to respond with comments, usually about a week or two weeks. And then following that, they would undergo the process, right, for example, if they're going to decline that particular application, provide reasons why and invite the client or applicant to say, comment any further about those particular concerns?

Chris Patterson 36:04
Okay. All right. So the so the applicant provides the comments, immigration, New Zealand, let's just assume goes not we're just going to stick with our preliminary decision, your application for residency has declined. What rights does that person then have to challenge that decision?

Michelle Chen 36:25
So they can appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

Chris Patterson 36:28
Okay. Tell us, tell us about the tribunal. Who's on it? How does it work?

Michelle Chen 36:32
So there's members, which are their guests, equivalent to judges? So it's tribunal member? Members? Yeah, yeah. So they're not judges for the per se, but they make a decision. But but

Chris Patterson 36:45
the chair is a district court judge though? Yeah, yes. Yeah. Yeah. Who's the current chair?

Michelle Chen 36:49
I think Martin Treadmill. Okay. All right. Okay.

Chris Patterson 36:53
So and it is an actual tribunal. Three members. So just bear back in the day, they used to be a thing called the Employment Tribunal, which was a bit of an oxymoron to the extent that it was actually only one person. There wasn't three people sitting there, like as the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, three people sitting on a particular decision, or is it just one? Just one? Just one? Yeah, they're called tribunals. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Small point. Okay, so one person will hear the, what's called a challenge. Is that a challenge to the decision of Immigration New Zealand and appeal

Michelle Chen 37:31
against the decision on appeal? Yeah. And it's, most of the time, it will be on the papers, so you don't actually get an in-person hearing?

Chris Patterson 37:39
Okay, so right, so you don't get to tune up. And as an appeal, when you say on the papers, is the tribunal, looking at it de novo that is completely afresh? And that is looking at all the evidence and all the submissions? Or are they looking at what the Immigration New Zealand has decided? And then seeing whether there's any errors in that? So

Michelle Chen 38:04
it all depends on which appeal it is. So for example, if it's a humanitarian appeal, so against deportation, they will look at what's been presented. So you know, the applicant or the palance ties to New Zealand, any grounds, for example, if they've got employment ties, or financial ties or children family? So these are hardship issues? Yeah. And then what would happen, say if they would be deported back to their home country? So what would they face there and have it as the balancing?

Chris Patterson 38:36
You know, I know you don't do refugee law, but it kind of sounds a little bit like the same things. I'd imagine someone who was trying to stop deportation because they're a refugee, that'd be saying, if I go back to my original country, I'm going to be persecuted. Yeah.

Michelle Chen 38:52
So yeah, I guess the emphasis is more on the ties that that appellant has to New Zealand. So if they've been here for 20 years, established businesses or created jobs, or they've got a New Zealand partner, and I've got New Zealand citizen children, those are sort of the ties or some of the circumstances that the tribunal member will look at when considering the appeal.

Chris Patterson 39:19
So in terms of the decision from the Immigration Protection Tribunal, is that the end of the line for someone if they get an adverse decision, or are they able to appeal that to the High Court? So

Michelle Chen 39:35
yes, so if it is an adverse decision, they should definitely seek legal advice pretty promptly. And then they have about I think 28 days or a month to appeal to the High Court.

Chris Patterson 39:44
Presumably, Immigration New Zealand can also appeal decisions if they're not happy with the decision of the tribunal. Yeah, yeah.

Michelle Chen 39:54
Yeah, absolutely. So for example, if they -- I haven't seen it in my experience -- but if it's in the favor of the appellant. So if my client were to receive a positive decision in tribunal, the immigration lawyers for immigration can appeal to the High Court. Okay.

Chris Patterson 40:15
I mean, presumably a lot of these cases are run on legal aid as well. I just kind of imagine, particularly in the migrant working category. And now --

Michelle Chen 40:22
It's actually mostly privately funded. Yeah, apart from refugee matters. They are eligible for legal aid sometimes in some circumstances, but most of the time, 99% of the time, probably, it's all privately funded.

Chris Patterson 40:34
Yeah. Okay. Well, look, let's now talk about, in terms of the future of witnesses, this may be heating. Look at the National Party's website on their immigration policy, Erica Stanford's their spokesperson and coalition governments formed between national and act. Presumably, she'll end up being the new immigration minister. One of the things that I noticed was that National doesn't support any amnesty for up to 20,000 overstays who are living in New Zealand illegally for more than 10 years. So I'm taking it from that, that national have determined or believe that this, there's more than 20,000 people who are overstaying in New Zealand and they've been overstaying for 10 years. And they're not keen to allow these people to have an amnesty. How's it going to look for those people if National comes into power?

Michelle Chen 41:40
I guess that's quite interesting because at the same time coming up to elections, Labour had said that they wanted to introduce an amnesty for those that had overstayed in New Zealand. So it's basically one side against the other. But the problem is, if they did support it or didn't, if they did support it, then what happens to all those migrants that have worked endlessly or worked so hard to be able to meet the policy and make sure they're not in breach and to keep their status realized and go through that process and become residents and then subsequently citizens?

Chris Patterson 42:17
This is possibly as good news for immigration lawyers and consultants because it sounds to me that if that policy's given effect, that there's going to be a lot of deportation matters that presumably or decisions that presumably could end up in the Immigration Protection Tribunal. Yeah.

Michelle Chen 42:39
So it's quite interesting because I've been noticing a lot more deportation liability notices being issued for someone say with the 2021 residency. There's been nearly 210,000 resident visas been issued. And if someone was -- I mentioned earlier about the traffic offense -- if they would face a drunk drive and they get convicted, there's a lot more deportation liability questionnaires and notices being issued to those particular resident visa holders. And it's definitely been an increase in that sort of action. Whereas previously, five years ago, more would have taken a lot longer for those compliance actions to take place. I

Chris Patterson 43:24
guess it does sound somewhat harsh that if you've got someone who's been living and working in New Zealand for 10 years or more, that, you know, they could be facing being deported. But, I mean, if we compare it to Australia's 501 policy, and I'm not suggesting you're an expert on it, but it does seem to be that our closest neighbors take a very more harsh view of anyone on the workflow, say in the country, who doesn't matter how long they've been there, been there since I was six months old. If they're not going to comply with the laws, they're pretty quick off the mark to, to send them back to wherever they say they've come from. And in our case, New Zealand.

Michelle Chen 44:11
The interest is to say how, I guess, national takes if they've taken such a hard stance. So if it's equal to more compliance issues being taken place. Yeah.

Chris Patterson 44:24
Yeah. Look, I don't know if you picked up in the media. I can't remember where it was. Maybe it was about a year ago. There was a woman who was picked up in Syria. She was one of these ISIS brides and was about to be deported out of Syria to Australia where she spent all of her life. The Australian immigration had worked out that she was actually born in New Zealand. They canceled her Australian citizenship, just canceled it outright. And then she was sort of left in a scenario where, well, okay, well, she was born in New Zealand, so she should return to New Zealand. What she did understand what the child is there a power to cancel citizenship under our immigration laws.

Michelle Chen 45:15
It says you still have to reopen that file. So that ruling in the process was obtained by fraud was yeah.

Chris Patterson 45:22
It's quite extreme. Yeah, canceling someone's citizenship. Anyway, hey, look, another policy area the Nationals keen on is introducing a parent visa boost. That sounds like a good idea. What's your thoughts on that?

Michelle Chen 45:39
I guess it's really to what I've read of their policy is that they really want to encourage high-skilled individuals to come here and then having a pathway for the parents to be able to be supported and come into the country.

Chris Patterson 45:53
You know, although, I mean, this is somewhat of a, I guess, an area that might attract a lot of criticism. You have, let's say, a couple immigrate to New Zealand and they get residency. And they decide, oh, look, we're going to bring mum or dad in. Okay, who are obviously a little bit older. Is generally how these things work. Yes. And the experts will say that something like 80% of your health spend, okay, that is spent on your health is in the last two years of your life. I mean, we've already got a health system that's in crisis. Do we really want, you know, a bunch of elderly parents from overseas turning up who may end up? Well, inevitably, if the researchers correct, acting as a significant drain on a system that's already under pressure. Yeah, that's --

Michelle Chen 46:59
A very interesting point, Chris, because I think back in 2016, they actually closed the category, the parent category, parent reasons, that category because of I guess how much public outcry about the drainage on the health system. I think I had, I don't want to -- yeah, I wouldn't say it in the comments on the podcast, but they do. They go on, they pause it for five years actually, just to stop that. Just to stop the drain, I guess, because a lot of migrants that I remember helping, they immediately once they were eligible, they were supporting the parents to come into New Zealand. And after the parent obtained residency, you know, they're usually a lot older. And then, yeah, if they needed to go to the hospital, and at the moment, there's huge issues with obviously, you know, with the health system, all across New Zealand.

Chris Patterson 48:02
Yeah. And then look, in another area, which, and look, I'm not trying to beat up migrants here, don't get me wrong. Look, I've been involved in raising a couple of teenagers and the old adage applies that it takes a village to raise a child, getting help from grandparents, I totally get that, I understand all that. But I just sort of moved to another example where some people might think, you know, the policy or the regulations are somewhat unfair. In terms of, if you think about equity for those that have contributed to paying taxes, let's, and again, I'm not trying to, I'm also not trying to beat up our gold card carrying members of our community. But let's say that we've got Fran, and Fran's 68 and she's in receipt of the New Zealand pension, and Fran meets a lovely man from Switzerland on the internet, who's 75, and suggests to this, we'll call him Hans. Hans, why don't you come and move in with me here in New Zealand, come over and be my partner? So Hans comes over and they form a relationship. Well, not only is Fran able to receive the single pension, but at some point, when her relationship has matured, excuse to have fun with Hans, she gets paid a bit more because she's got a dependent. That just seems an odd thing to do, that the taxpayers would be paying for Fran's boyfriend or paying Fran more money because she's got a boyfriend that she's imported in from Switzerland. I'm quite neutral on the country's here. We could have used other stereotypes of bringing in partners from overseas. Yeah, just seems odd. Anyway, look, we're talking about law, not the intricacies of policy around superannuation. Let's talk about another policy that might affect immigration, boosting the tech sector. We talked about that a little bit more before. Sounds like National really want to push the tech sector along and get some skilled workers, both in terms of graduates who have got relevant qualifications because we can educate New Zealanders to have those qualifications, and also those that are going to invest money in the tech sector. And they have this thing called a digital nomad. I mean, I regard myself as a digital nomad, but I'm not really in the tech sector. Where do you think that that's gonna push migration numbers?

Michelle Chen 50:50
I think the last one that you mentioned, the digital nomad visa, that's very interesting, because there's been, I think I just recently read it this morning, about just over 50 countries around the world offering the digital nomad visas for those that can work remotely, just to encourage more tourism and more activity into the home country. So for example, say me as an example, I work completely remotely, I travel all across New Zealand, and tomorrow, I'm heading over to Vancouver. And I'm able to run my business completely remote from there.

Chris Patterson 51:25
I guess while you're in Vancouver, you're going to be spending money in Vancouver. So we're going to help the Canadian economy, every little Canadian dollar helps. So yeah, I mean, I went back to, if I go back to the point about the overseas backpacker who spends very little in New Zealand, presumably, national have done some sort of research and worked out that these digital nomads will come to New Zealand in droves. They'll work here, they'll earn, you know, maybe US dollars, but they'll spend it here in New Zealand, whether that's on pizzas from Pizza Hut or otherwise.

Michelle Chen 52:06
Yeah, it's a very interesting one, especially after COVID. There were very few countries that offered this as an option. But now because the numbers have been going from about 21 in 2021 to about 58 countries now, is that each country is different. But it'll be interesting to see how national, if they do put out this policy, what sort of requirements there would be, but usually, there is an income requirement. So say that particular applicant needs to earn a certain amount of money per month, per week, per year, whether it be their own business, or they receive an income from overseas business. Yeah, and then meet all the other requirements, then fingers will definitely boost the spending and help New Zealand businesses.

Chris Patterson 52:56
Yeah, certainly possibly even start filling some of the skills gaps that apparently we have. Moving to Act. Well, Act wants to cut the red tape. And they do want all major immigration policy decisions to be subject to regulatory impact analysis. It sounds very technical, to make the benefits of a policy outweigh the costs. Well, I guess I'd take from that that they want to be more selective about who's coming into New Zealand, and that there is some sort of cost-benefit analysis for that process. Is that sort of how you're taking Act's policy on it?

Michelle Chen 53:36
It seems like, based on what I've heard from the party, is that they really want to encourage sort of high-skilled and high-net-worth individuals to come into the country. So I guess that's the way that they've set out a sort of a way to measure that.

Chris Patterson 53:52
And they're also wanting to remove confusion and unfairness about applications. Look, it's pretty subjective as well. Well, let's see what the next few weeks or months are. At some stage, when these people who've been elected actually get around to governing, doing what they've been elected to do, and see how that plays out. Look, Michelle Chen, thank you very much for joining us on The Law Down Under Podcast. It's been fascinating looking into immigration in New Zealand. It sounds like you and your colleagues are pretty busy and will continue to be so if immigration numbers keep hitting record highs. I really appreciate you being on. It's been a great dive. Thank you very much.

Michelle Chen 54:43
Thank you so much, Chris. Yes.

Chris Patterson 54:47
Thank you for tuning in and listening to this episode of the Law Down Under Podcast. You're welcome to join in on the discussion via my podcast page which you can access at patterson.co.nz. That's at patterson.co.nz. Thanks for supporting the podcast and tune in again for more on the law, its application, and the future of the law here down under.