27 Apr 2023

Immigration New Zealand visa system asks 70-year-old if she's pregnant, and for CV

7:30 pm on 27 April 2023
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IT security architect Osama Al Omari says INZ need to understand the hurt they are causing. (file image) Photo: 123RF

A New Zealander is calling on immigration to change its processes after his 70-year-old mother was asked whether she was pregnant and to provide a CV.

IT security architect Osama Al Omari waited six months for his parents' visitor visa to be approved and he had to upload the same documents more than once.

The problems were still continuing for him and his family as they could not download their visa from Immigration New Zealand's (INZ) online system, Al Omari said.

The agency said it had a "small number" of complaints about downloads not working.

"My parents came twice before to New Zealand, it was easy, they stayed for a month and left," Al Omari said.

"Now the process is a total pain. My mum is 70 years old - there are questions in the application 'is my mum pregnant?' This gives you an indication the process has not been reviewed for a long time," he said.

"Any simple business analyst would go through this process and just have a look at it and say, there should be a condition if somebody is above this age, don't ask about pregnancy.

"Or even asking about income or about what does she work on their CV or resume. Like she's 70, she's retired. We had to make a CV, I told my mum 'go and write one' or find the latest one from 15 years ago."

Al Omari did not want an apology, but he said INZ needed to understand the hurt they were causing.

"After Covid, we've been disconnected from families for quite a while and it has hit us really bad, because we don't have family here and we're really dependent on seeing our parents," Al Omari said.

"I had periods where my mum was very sick but I couldn't leave, because I didn't have the chance to come back in," he said.

"Now the borders are open, we can't get them in. It's clear they have lost some of the documents, hence they want a re-upload. The whole process is not only broken, but rather unprofessional.

"They came here twice before, it should be really quick, they are parents of citizens."

An immigration adviser said they had encountered the question of pregnancy in a health form for a three-year-old child, who was in a family application for residence.

INZ said it was part of its standard questions.

"We have received a small number of complaints about people being unable to download the approval letter/e-visa," said INZ assurance general manager Zoe Goodall.

"In these instances, we've referred the issue onto our Immigration Contact Centre technical team who have then called or emailed the applicant to assist them with navigating the web page.

"In relation to the wording on visa applications, questions around pregnancy form part of our standard health questionnaire which is provided to all applicants regardless of age.

"Applicants need only complete sections that apply to them. We generally request an applicant's CV if they are applying for a work visa."

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