If you are applying for a visitor or student visa, it is likely that Immigration New Zealand will raise concerns in regards to whether you are a bona fide applicant. This blog post will explore how Immigration New Zealand determines whether you are a bona fide aka genuine applicant.
What does bona fide applicant mean?
To prove to Immigration New Zealand that you are a bona fide applicant, you need to provide evidence which establishes that you intend to travel to New Zealand for a purpose, and that once the purpose has been completed, you intend to leave New Zealand. The purpose will differ from visa to visa, for example visitor visa applicants will have to prove that they intend to travel to New Zealand to e.g. visit family, and will leave after their visa expires.
Bona fides can be raised in different forms. The following are common bona fide issues raised by Immigration New Zealand:
1. Family ties;
2. Financial and occupational commitments; and
3. Study progression.
We emphasise overseas applicants will have to be especially careful in proving that they are bona fide. This is because they may not be provided an opportunity to respond to bona fide concerns Immigration New Zealand may have.
If you have immediate family that reside in New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand may raise concerns in regards to strong family ties you have to New Zealand. For example, if a 35 year old applicant applies for a visitor visa when her mother, father and siblings reside in New Zealand. Immigration New Zealand may draw the inference that the applicant does not intend to visit New Zealand, but may wish to reside in New Zealand with her family.
A possible solution is to demonstrate that the applicant has strong family ties to their home country. For example, if the applicant has a child or partner in their home country, and the child or partner are not traveling with the applicant, this can be used to demonstrate stronger family ties to the applicant’s home country. Evidence which can be provided to Immigration New Zealand to demonstrate strong family ties to an applicant’s home country, include but are not limited to the following:
1. Employment agreement for employment in their home country;
2. Marriage certificate;
3. Child’s birth certificate;
4. Photos of the applicant and their partner and child;
5. The applicant’s international travel history; and
6. If the applicant is successful, their CV.
Financial and employment commitments:
If you have an annual income that is considered low in comparison to the average salary in New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand may raise concerns with the financial and employment commitments you have to your home country. For example, if a 30 year old applicant applies for a visitor visa to New Zealand when they have an annual income of NZD$6,000 in their home country. An inference that Immigration New Zealand may draw is that the applicant does not intend to visit New Zealand, but may wish to reside in New Zealand to work and earn a higher income.
To address this concern, the applicant could provide evidence which demonstrates that they are likely to leave New Zealand after their visit. Evidence in relation to the following should be provided to INZ, these include, but are not limited to:
1. Assets/ property in the applicant’s home country;
2. Children and/ or Partners who may remain in the applicant’s home country;
3. The applicant’s international travel history;
4. Pre-purchased tickets out of New Zealand; and
5. Background of the applicant’s parents and family.
If you are aged over 26 and are applying for a student visa to study English in New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand may raise concerns in regards to your study progression. For example, if a 29 year old student applies to study a foundation or English course in New Zealand, when they had already completed a Bachelor’s level degree in their home country. An inference that Immigration New Zealand is likely to draw is that the student is not applying for a student visa for the main purpose of studying, instead the applicant has ulterior motives and is only using the student visa as a means to gain entry into New Zealand.
A possible solution is to demonstrate that the applicant intends to study and then leave New Zealand because they have strong ties to their home country. Evidence in relation to the following should be provided to Immigration New Zealand, these include but are not limited to:
1. Work/ financial commitments to the applicant’s home country;
2. Confirmation of pre-purchased travel out of New Zealand;
3. Confirmation of payment for the course;
4. A study plan for subsequent study or evidence which confirms that the English or foundation course is a pre-requisite for another course e.g. a master’s degree; and
5. Children and/ or Partners who remain in the applicant’s home country.
It is important to be aware that the burden of proof lies on the applicant to prove that they are a bona fide applicant. This means that unless you provide evidence to demonstrate you are a bona fide applicant, Immigration New Zealand is entitled to decline your application. Furthermore, every applicant’s background circumstances will be different. The above solutions may not apply to everybody.
If Immigration New Zealand has raised concerns in regards to your bona fides or if you require assistance with any visa application. Please do not hesitate to contact the immigration team at Queen City Law.
We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and it should not be relied upon in individual cases. Professional advice should always be sought before any decision or action is taken as Immigration New Zealand’s instructions change on a regular basis.