In order to be granted any class or category of visa, you must demonstrate that you are of good character and do not pose a risk to our immigration system or the public.
We can assist in navigating INZ’s character policies to advise you upfront what the impacts of a conviction might be on your immigration status, and help to improve the chance of securing a visa.
To determine whether you meet character requirements, INZ will require you to provide police clearance certificates from any country of citizenship and countries you have spent a material amount of time in (the threshold differs depending on the category of visa being applied for). They will also liaise directly with NZ Police for any records held in New Zealand.
Just like with health issues, if these checks raise no concerns, you will be determined to meet the "good character" requirement. If issues are identified, INZ will request further information or issue a letter highlighting these concerns and requesting comment (PPI letter) and again, as with health issues, the threshold for triggering a request for further information or a PPI letter differs for temporary and residence applications.
For temporary visa applications, character concerns will be raised if an applicant has:
For residence class applications, concerns will be raised if an applicant has:
It is very important to note that INZ expect you to declare convictions whether or not they have been expunged or cancelled due to the passage of time (with the exception of New Zealand convictions withheld under the Clean Slate Act). We regularly have to represent clients who have wrongly believed that an expunged record negated the need to disclose the conviction, and where INZ took the resulting stance that they had withheld material information. If in doubt, it is certainly advisable to disclose the conviction (historical or otherwise).
If character checks raise such concerns, these will be put forward for comment, and if necessary, a character waiver assessment will be required, whereby a balancing exercise is undertaken by INZ in relation to considering whether or not the circumstances of the applicant and their potential benefit to New Zealand, outweigh the negative implications (being the risk to the public and our immigration system) of them remaining here.