Immigration 'unfair' to use Wikipedia in decision

11:01 am on 26 September 2017

Immigration New Zealand has been admonished for using Wikipedia to help decide whether a man was eligible for a visa.

A Filipino man and his wife and child were applying for residence when they were told he would not qualify as a skilled migrant.

The immigration officer said Wikipedia suggested his job did not match the classification of a metal fabricator, but instead a less skilled job as a steel fixer.

His lawyer, Gene Bagsic, of Te Mata Law, said if there were doubts about the appellant's ability to perform higher-skilled tasks, Immigration New Zealand needed to check with his employer and should not make decisions based on "assumptions or generalisations".

The 41-year-old man works at a company that specialises in pre-cast concrete panels, walls and stairs and has lived in New Zealand for the past three years.

The immigration officer, in refusing the application, also said the company did not make metal objects.

The man's employer pointed out pre-cast concrete would not hold without its steel bases.

Immigration New Zealand's instructions state: "Assessment of whether an occupation is skilled for the purposes of the Skilled Migrant Category is primarily based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) which associates skill levels with each occupation."

The man appealed to the immigration and protection tribunal, which directed Immigration New Zealand to reassess its decision.

"In this case, the Tribunal is not satisfied that Immigration New Zealand based its decision primarily on the ANZSCO," it said.

"It is clear from its letter of decline, and its email of 26 April 2016, which set out its concerns with the application, that it was primarily relying on Wikipedia.

"It was unfair of Immigration New Zealand to rely on Wikipedia in the way that it did."

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) assistant general manager, Geoff Scott, said in a statement it "completely accepts the Immigration and Protection Tribunal's findings and can confirm it is reassessing this individual's application for a resident visa.

"Where required INZ uses a variety of information sources as part of its assessment process, but does not rely on these sources to make decisions on applications.

"In terms of applications under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) skilled work is defined as employment that requires specialist, technical or management expertise obtained through the completion of recognised relevant qualifications or recognised relevant work experience.

"Assessment of whether an occupation is skilled for the purposes of the SMC is primarily based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), which associates skill levels with each occupation."

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