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Immigration and Refugee Law Committee

The Immigration and Refugee Law Committee monitors and makes recommendations on proposed legislative reforms relevant to immigration and refugee law. It also liaises with Immigration New Zealand regarding the implementation of immigration policy and practice.

About Us

The Immigration and Refugee Law Committee (IRLC) was established in 2010 to keep a watching brief on all legislative reform relevant to immigration and refugee law.

Prior to this the Law Society had commented on immigration law reform on an ad hoc basis. In 2006 the Law Society established the Immigration Review Working Party, made up of immigration law specialists, to prepare the Law Society submission on the Immigration Bill (now the Immigration Act 2009), a major revision of New Zealand immigration law.

Our People

Mark Williams specialises in immigration law, with a focus on individual/family, business/investment and corporate migration services, and is an internationally recognised expert in New Zealand immigration law. Mark represents private and corporate immigration clients, including multinational companies, large to medium New Zealand businesses, and many internationally recognised business and investment migrants. Mark is an Adjunct Professor of Law of Victoria University (Melbourne), and was a lecturer in immigration law at the University of Canterbury.

The committee is made up of experienced immigration practitioners:

  • Rob Davidson
  • Merlaina Donald
  • Kamil Lakshman
  • Simon Laurent
  • John McBride
  • So Mang You

NZLS contact: Amanda Frank, Law Reform Adviser (Dunstan Blay, parental leave cover 2019)
DX SP20202 or PO Box 5041, Wellington 6145

Recent Work

In the past 18 months, the IRLC has commented on proposals impacting on immigration and refugee law. The committee made two submissions on Immigration New Zealand’s draft internal best practice guidelines (IAC16/02) relating to the role of immigration lawyers. The committee also made submissions to the Refugee Status Branch on its initial draft guidelines Minors and children in the refugee status process, and a further submission on the redrafted guidelines. In addition, the IRLC contributed to an NZLS submission on a proposed Gang Intelligence Centre information-sharing agreement, in relation to immigration information.

The committee also liaises with INZ and the Refugee Status Branch, as well as the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, on immigration policy and practice issues. In the forthcoming 2-year term the committee will focus on strengthening these lines of communication, so that concerns about various issues can be brought to the attention of INZ, the RSB and the IPT. INZ’s recently reviewed Client Complaint Resolution Process is likely to be one area of particular focus for the committee in the next term.

Get Involved

Appointments are made to this committee biennially. If you have a passion for law reform, skills, interest and expertise in immigration and refugee law and the time and energy to commit, then get involved.

Membership of this committee allows you to play an important role in immigration and refugee law reform and is an excellent basis for professional development as well as collegiality and networking.

Additionally, substantive contribution to NZLS law reform may count towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Applications for the 2017 appointment round have closed. The next appointment round will be in mid-2019.

Last updated on the 25th January 2019