A man is accusing Immigration NZ of ageism after an official made a note of the 33-year age gap between him and his Filipina partner.
Wayne Greenwood obtained a document written by an Immigration NZ (INZ) officer that scrutinised the age difference and differing cultures between himself and his fiancée Liza Nofoaiga, whose residence visa application was later declined.
“Ages of couple matches: No – there is a 33 year age gap,” the staff member wrote in early 2018 in a memo, obtained by Greenwood under the Official Information Act and provided to Stuff.
That’s not ageism. Immigration NZ is not saying that a relationship can’t be genuine if there is a 33 year age gap – just that it is less likely to be so. It is their job to establish if a relationship is genuine, or just an attempt to rort the immigration system.
Nofoaiga’s application was declined in September 2018. Greenwood said he was “gobsmacked” when he saw the internal document, which he described as ageist and discriminatory.
“It’s against everything that this country stands for. We’ve got a big age gap – there’s no two ways about that – but that’s our choice, and if that’s the way [Associate Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi] decided against us, that’s a breach of human rights.”
There is no human right to get residency in New Zealand, if you are not a citizen.
One of the requirements for residence visa applications is that the applicant’s sponsor must not have acted as a sponsor in one previous successful visa application.
Greenwood said that he had successfully sponsored the application of a Chinese woman in 2010, but they had since broken up.
He suspected that INZ believed his new partner was trying to use him to obtain residency, but he said that was unfair: “You cannot assume that.”
They can assume that, especially when it seems that is what his previous “partner” did.