R5.95 Character requirement for partners supporting Partnership Category applications (08/05/2017)
- Any supporting partner who has been convicted either within New Zealand or any other country of:
- any offence involving domestic violence; or
- any offence of a sexual nature
will not meet the character requirement for partners supporting Partnership Category applications, unless granted a character waiver (see R5.95.5 below).
- If the supporting partner does not meet the character requirement for partners supporting partnership application, the application may be declined.
Note: For the purpose of these instructions, 'domestic violence' has the meaning set out in s.3 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995.
R5.95.1 Evidence that partners supporting Partnership Category applications meet the character requirement
- Character checks must be carried out for partners (aged 17 and over) supporting Partnership Category applications.
- The supporting partner character check consists of:
- a New Zealand police certificate obtained by Immigration New Zealand; and
- a police or similar certificate, less than 6 months old, from any country in which the supporting partner has lived 12 months or more (whether on one visit or intermittently) in the last ten years.
- Despite (b), an immigration officer may, where they have reason to suspect the supporting partner may not meet character requirements, request a police certificate from the supporting partner for any country in which they have lived for 12 months or more since they turned 17.
- Where an application is submitted without the required police certificate(s), an immigration officer may nevertheless accept the application, and obtain any necessary clearances after acceptance, if a supporting partner requires a police certificate from a country:
- that does not issue police certificates to individuals; or
- for which no instructions in respect of how to obtain a police certificate is available.
- If a police certificate is not available from a particular country, the supporting partner must provide a separate statutory declaration in both English and the supporting partner's first language, which must:
- detail the supporting partner's attempts to obtain a police certificate; and
- state whether the supporting partner has been convicted, or found guilty of, or charged with any offences against the law of that country; and
- be corroborated by other information confirming the supporting partner's character.
~ For full information on police certificates see A5.10.
~ Instructions in respect of how to obtain police certificates from specific countries can be obtained from the INZ website at www.immigration.govt.nz/policecertificate.
- Immigration officers must not automatically decline partnership applications on the basis that the supporting partner does not meet the character requirement for partners supporting partnership applications.
- Officers must consider the surrounding circumstances of the application to decide whether or not they are compelling enough to justify waiving the character requirement. The circumstances include but are not limited to the following factors as appropriate:
- if applicable, the seriousness of the offence (generally indicated by the term of imprisonment or size of the fine); and/or
- whether there is more than one offence; and/or
- how long ago the relevant event occurred.
- Officers must make a decision only after they have considered all relevant factors, including (if applicable):
- any advice from the National Office of INZ; and
- compliance with fairness and natural justice requirements (see A1).
- Officers must record:
- their consideration of the surrounding circumstances, (see paragraph (b) above), noting all factors taken into account; and
- the reasons for their decision to waive or decline to waive the character requirement.
- Any decision to waive the character requirement for partners must be made by an officer with Schedule 1-3 delegations.
R5.95.10 Impact of Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act on assessment of whether the character requirement for partners supporting Partnership Category applications is met
- When assessing whether the supporting partner meets the character requirements of R5.95(a), an immigration officer must be aware that a supporting partner’s New Zealand convictions may be covered by the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 (Clean Slate Scheme) and that, if so, the supporting partner is not required to declare those convictions.
- If Immigration New Zealand holds any information that the supporting partner has convictions, and those convictions are covered by the Clean Slate Scheme, this information cannot be used when assessing whether the supporting partner meets the character requirements of R5.95(a).
Note: The information referred to in (b), above, includes any prior police certificates, any information INZ holds in its records (including its Application Management System), and any other information which may have been gathered from a public source.
If a person’s convictions are covered by the Clean Slate Scheme, immigration officers cannot, under any circumstances, request or require that an individual disregard the effect of the Clean Slate Scheme when answering questions about his or her criminal record, or disregard the effect of the Clean Slate Scheme and disclose, or give consent to the disclosure of, his or her criminal record. Doing so is an offence under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004. However, if the supporting partner voluntarily declares criminal convictions that are subject to the Clean Slate Scheme, this information can be used to assess whether the supporting partner meets the character requirements of R5.95(a).