Immigration law

New Zealand immigration laws provide a framework for us to manage immigration in a way that balances our national interests with our international obligations, protecting both New Zealanders and migrants.

Immigration Act 2009

The 'Immigration Act 2009' (the Act) is the fundamental source of New Zealand immigration law.

The Act:

  • sets out who needs a visa to travel to or stay in New Zealand
  • provides for the certification of immigration instructions, and the rules and criteria for the grant of visas
  • places responsibilities on people when they first arrive in New Zealand
  • provides a legal basis for New Zealand to meet its international responsibilities under the Refugee Convention, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • sets out the requirements that visitors, migrants, students, employers and educators must meet and the information they must give to Immigration New Zealand
  • provides the grounds for deportation and creates criminal offences relating to immigration
  • establishes the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, an independent tribunal which hears residence appeals, refugee and protection appeals, and appeals against deportation.

Legislation New Zealand – Immigration Act 2009
Ministry of Justice – Immigration and Protection Tribunal
Immigration instructions

Immigration Amendment Act (No 2)

The 'Immigration Amendment Act (No 2) 2015' amended the 'Immigration Act 2009'.

These amendments:

  • protect migrant workers from exploitation
  • strengthen the immigration compliance regime
  • reflect changes in technology
  • clarify provisions in the 'Immigration Act 2009'.

Legislation New Zealand – Immigration Amendment Act (No 2)

Immigration regulations

The following regulations support the 'Immigration Act 2009':

  • Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010 – include application requirements for visas that cover residence, temporary entry and transit.
  • Immigration (Certificate, Warrant, and Other Forms) Regulations 2010 – prescribe the forms and warrants used for deportation or the mass arrival of asylum seekers.
  • Immigration (Refugee and Protection Status Processing) Regulations 2010 – describe how refugee claims are managed.
  • Immigration (Carriers’ Information Obligations) Regulations 2010 – define the responsibilities of airlines and other transport providers to check and hold information about their passengers.
  • Immigration (Carriers’ Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2012 – describe the penalties that airlines and other transport providers may be liable for if they don’t meet their obligations.
  • Immigration and Protection Tribunal Regulations 2010 – define how the Tribunal operates and its powers.

Legislation New Zealand – Immigration Regulations

Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007

The 'Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007' (the Act) covers the licensing of immigration advisers. The Act also defines what immigration advice is, who can provide it and how complaints against advisers are handled.

The Act is supported by the Immigration Advisers Licensing Regulations 2008 and standards for advisers’ professional behaviour and competency. These regulations and standards are set out in the:

  • Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2014
  • Immigration Advisers Competency Standards 2013.

Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007
Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2014

Immigration Advisers Authority

The Immigration Advisers Authority licenses immigration advisers and manages their code of conduct.

Immigration Advisers Authority

Other laws that protect the rights of New Zealanders

We have laws to protect New Zealanders’ employment rights, their right to privacy and their right to see official information about them.

Employment rights legislation

New Zealand’s employment laws protect the rights of workers, including migrant workers. These laws set the minimum employment rights and responsibilities that employers must meet.

Minimum employment rights

Privacy Act 1993

The 'Privacy Act 1993' describes how all Government agencies, including INZ, manage personal information.

Privacy Act 1993
INZ’s website privacy statement

Official Information Act 1982

The 'Official Information Act 1982' aims to:

  • increase public access to official information
  • let people see official information about themselves
  • protect the public interest and safeguard personal privacy.

Official Information Act 1982