The Role of Immigration Policy in New Zealand Law


  1. New Zealand has a unique immigration system. It has framework legislation in the form of the Immigration Act 2009 (which replaces the 1987 Act on 29 November 2010). Beneath the driving legislation there are regulations which describe what documents are required for an application to be lodged, what fees are payable, the processes involved in lodging appeals and other rules relating to mechanisms and process.
  2. Apart from statute and regulations, the distinguishing feature of our immigration legal system is that the rules that describe who may or may not be granted residence and who may or may not be granted work, study or visitor entry are set out in policy rules currently called the Operational Manual.1 This was originally the office manual but as a result of our freedom of information legislation has been available in one format or another to advisers since about 1982.2
  3. In the case of the residence policy rules however these are elevated to the status of being binding rules by section 72(1) (formerly section 13C of the Immigration Act 1987). If an immigration officer does not precisely follow the text of the Immigration Instructions or misunderstands its application, then an appeal will lie to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT). At least with regard to residence matters therefore policy rules have a very strong hue of statute law. In passing one should also contrast the non-binding nature of temporary entry rules, however, temporary entry decisions where they are made onshore are still amenable to judicial review (but not an appeal to the IPT).

Read the full article here: 100903. The Role of Policy in New Zealand’s Immigration Law.

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