On Wednesday, 24 June 2020, Legal Associates Principal Mr Raj Singh, served as one of the “Session Chairs” of the Immigration Law Conference addressing the topic of “Critical Visa changes and challenges”. The event was particularly insightful as it involved seven highly experienced lawyers and immigration advisors from across New Zealand providing details around key areas of New Zealand Immigration Law and recent policy updates in these respective areas. Concerns around the potential impact of COVID-19 on immigration policy and regulations were also touched upon in this conference, as it is a pressing issue affecting migrants in the current year.
The First speaker, Lauren Qui from the Tauranga Law Firm “Stay Legal” provided critical information on the stringency of Labour Market Tests for employers hiring migrants, the ability of migrants to bring family to New Zealand from overseas, as well as regions in New Zealand which have a high demand for migrant employees.
The next session was presented by James Ellis, from “Edvantage International Consulting”, and addressed new challenges for students coming to New Zealand for study. Here, matters related to establishing a link between a student’s chosen programme of study to their future career prospects as well as the need to maintain adequate funding in New Zealand were all highlighted.
The third speaker was Mrs Vandana Rai from “Immigration Advisors New Zealand Ltd”. Her presentation’s primary focus was on the evidentiary issues surrounding partnership applications for “Culturally arranged Marriages”, which are common for migrants from South and West Asia.
The following presentation was by Mr Peter Moses, a barrister based in central Auckland. This referred to matters such as client complaints and Lawyer’s liability with regards to unfavourable outcomes of immigration applications. Various strategies were outlined with regards to lawyers mitigating any risks to their reputation and potential complaints arising from cases.
The fifth topic as elaborated upon by Mr Jack Cheng, of Queen City law highlighted issues surrounding medical and health waivers and the impact they may have on a client’s application. For example, the long-lasting detrimental impacts a criminal conviction or even a criminal charge may have for an applicant were thoroughly discussed. The complexities of obtaining a medical waiver for those with pre-existing medical conditions were further touched upon.
The following topic which addressed strategies and techniques for drafting skilful written submissions for humanitarian appeals was presented by Elcel Nerida from Advent Ark Lawyers. This insightful presentation demonstrated how language techniques have significant impact upon obtaining successful outcomes for clients, particularly those who are facing dire circumstances such as deportation.
The final presentation was orated by Damon Parker of “SwiftVisa”. This presentation addressed pathways to attaining favourable outcomes for unlawful applicants. Options such as “Section 61 appeals”, applications for interim visas as well as applications for “reconsiderations” were all collectively highlighted. This gave the audience a solid grasp of how one may effectively tackle challenging cases of clients who have become “unlawful” in New Zealand by presenting these multiple options.
Mr Raj Singh was heavily involved in enabling the presentations to proceed smoothly and he directed questions and answers for each speaker and gave introductions to the speakers prior to the presentations. This shows Mr Singh’s, and more broadly Legal Associate’s enthusiasm and interest in becoming involved in the broader nationwide discourse surrounding Immigration matters and legal policy changes surrounding new migrants to New Zealand. As the Immigration Conference was one attended by reputable law firms and immigration firms from across New Zealand, it overall demonstrates how Legal Associates has gained a good “foothold” within the Legal Community. In the foreseeable future, we may expect further participation from Legal Associates in such conferences as they aim to inform lawyers, immigration advisors and the broader New Zealand public on new and challenging legal issues of our time.