NZ Immigration mistake ruins holiday plan

Published:  9 Mar at 6 PM
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As reported by Stuff, a couple from Cromwell report feeling upset and angry when an Immigration New Zealand mix-up made them worried that they needed to leave the country.

Kay and Trevor Johnson, who are British immigrants holding permanent New Zealand residency cards, said the saga began when their daughter Anneka sent in applications for a travel visa over a month ago so she could freely travel outside of New Zealand.

The family emigrated to New Zealand while Anneka was still legally a minor; she entered the nation on her father's visa. Kay Johnson said the couple sent their paperwork and passports to Immigration on 29 February and were told these would be processed within a few days.

But after a week, the couple started to worry that their passports had not arrived, so they began calling Immigration daily to check on the progress, she said. A woman, who claimed to work for Immigration New Zealand, called her on Wednesday, said Mrs Johnson.

The woman was "rude and abrupt", said Mrs Johnson, who was told that she had filled out the incorrect paperwork and that her family were in fact not residents of the country. Mrs Johnson replied that she had sent in her the forms, stressing that she was a permanent resident of New Zealand and had intentions of applying for citizenship.

She felt shocked and did not fully understand the woman, so she told the woman her husband's cell phone number, Mrs Johnson said. The woman did not call her husband, she said, which sparked suspicions that perhaps the woman had stolen their passports from the post and was a scammer.
Anneka reported phoning Immigration on her parents’ behalf to report the call and to find out what was happening. She was told that immigration officers always made notes on profiles during phone calls and interviews, but there had been zero record of the woman's phone call.
Anneka said she then had to postpone her holiday plans and cancel flights due to not having her passport, although she had booked a leave off work a year ago.
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