A woman bought shoes on an “exotic” site. Immigration New Zealand saw it as a red flag. (File photo)
A woman has had her New Zealand residency application refused after concerns were raised about her buying shoes from an ‘exotic’ website.
Immigration authorities said the purchase, along with a payment to her account from a strip club, showed she was working in the sex industry in violation of temporary visa rules.
The decision has now been overturned by a court and Immigration New Zealand has been asked to reconsider the case.
The woman, a 34-year-old Brazilian citizen, has been in New Zealand since 2015. She applied for residency in 2020 based on her partnership with her fiancé, a New Zealand citizen.
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According to a recent decision by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, red flags were raised about his “purchase of shoes from an exotic shoe website” and a one-time deposit of $1,197 with of a strip club.
In response, the woman said the shoes were for personal use and had no connection with the strip club.
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The deposit had been made in error and the money had been returned, she said. Rather than working for the club, she was self-employed and did clothing alterations and kitchen work.
Immigration New Zealand accused the woman of providing false and misleading information and refused her residency application, saying she did not meet the good character requirements.
In late 2021, the woman appealed to the court, which found that Immigration New Zealand had failed to “adequately consider” all of her circumstances.
Importantly, he said, if the woman had in fact worked at the strip club, it might not have been a violation of her visa.
Under the Prostitution Reform Act, temporary visa holders are not allowed to provide “commercial sex services” – a regulation put in place to prevent sex trafficking.
However, the court said the striptease did not appear to fit the definition of commercial sexual services under the legislation as it did not involve “the physical participation in sexual acts with another person”.
Immigration New Zealand also failed to consider the impact the refusal of the residency application would have on the woman, her partner and others in their lives, including her godson and Kiwi nephew, the official said. court.
The court referred the case to the chief executive of the Department for Business, Innovation and Jobs for a “proper assessment”.