Christchurch: CBD – (03) 379 7690 | Ferrymead – (03) 940 2435 | Hornby – (03) 349 5111

Immigration Law

Unless you are a New Zealand citizen, you must hold a visa to be lawfully in New Zealand. The type of visa will depend on your purpose for being in the country.

Our Immigration Services

At Saunders & Co we can advise on the visa that is right for your needs, and assist in preparing the appropriate paperwork for such a visa application. From the planning stages of your move to New Zealand, through to your obtaining citizenship, we can assist with every step of your migration journey.

Visiting NZ

If you are not from a country covered by visa waiver provisions, or you have unusual personal circumstances (such as health or character concerns, or you are travelling for something other than a holiday), you will most likely need to apply for a visitor visa. We can advise on whether an application needs to be made, and can assist in preparing and submitting this application.

Working in NZ

Have you been offered the opportunity to work in New Zealand? If so, you will need to apply for one of the several types of work visas that are available under New Zealand’s Immigration policy. Determining the most appropriate type of work visa requires an analysis of the job on offer and your existing experience and qualifications. We can advise you, and your employer, on this process to reduce the risk of your application being declined or made under the wrong category, resulting in a shorter visa and delaying your potential eligibility for residence.

Studying in NZ

Whether you are looking to undertake primary, secondary or tertiary study, we can assist in obtaining a student visa for you or your children.

We can advise you on work rights, post-study work visa options, and visa options for family wishing to accompany international students to New Zealand.

Residence in NZ

There are a number of avenues for obtaining residence in New Zealand, through skills, investment, or family connections. We encourage clients to pursue residence as soon as they are eligible to do so.

We can advise on your eligibility under residence categories, and any complexities that may need to be addressed. We can represent and assist you through the often lengthy application process from start to finish, providing quality advice along every step of the way.

NZ Citizenship

As residence is no guarantee of citizenship, we can advise on your eligibility in this final step of the migration journey.

Unlawful Status

Have you recently had your visa declined? Are you currently unlawfully in New Zealand as a result, unable to lodge a new application and facing deportation?

It is still possible to request and obtain a new visa, and become lawful in New Zealand once more, if the correct steps are taken in a timely manner.

We can advise you on what options are available to you, and prepare the appropriate submissions based on your specific circumstances.

Employer Accreditation

Are you looking to recruit workers from overseas? Are you trying to assist an employee with their visa application? Are you interested in becoming an “Accredited Employer”?

We can advise on the most practical and cost effective options when looking to employ migrant workers, advise on staff and visa structures that will work for your company, and with the highest chance of success, while ensuring that all employment obligations are adhered to.

We also offer seminars for companies employing high numbers of migrant workers.

If you are interested in booking a seminar, or are in need of specific advice for your company or an employee, please contact us.

Links for further information


Follow Adele Mitchell Immigration Lawyer

How Saunders & Co can add particular value:

  • Advising on medical or character concerns that may impact on visa eligibility
  • Determining whether occupations meet the definition of “skilled employment”
  • Planning the most efficient pathway for obtaining residence status
  • Informing employers of the expectations placed on them by Immigration New Zealand
  • Assisting migrants with expired visas to legalise their status
  • Providing a complete settlement package, including assisting with the purchase of property, arranging finances, and updating your legal documentation to comply with New Zealand law


Get further advice from

Adele Mitchell


Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0919
Mobile: +64 021 157 0306
Office: CBD

Adele Mitchell joined Saunders & Co in May 2017 with a focus on immigration law, having specialised in this field since her admission to the bar in 2005. She provides migrants with a range of services from the outset of their migration to New Zealand, to guiding them towards obtaining residency and citizenship. Adele particularly enjoys handling complex applications such as medical and character waivers, over-staying, Section 61 requests, complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman and special direction applications to the Minister of Immigration. She takes a pragmatic approach to providing immigration advice to both individual and corporate clients. Having lived as an exchange student in Japan she can sympathize with negotiating life in another country. She understands that the immigration process involves inherent uncertainty and that careful negotiation of complex law and policy is required. She is approachable, professional, analytical and always gives her best to clients. In addition to immigration work, Adele offers all her clients assistance with general legal matters. She can assist with property sale and purchases, commercial matters, wills and other everyday legal matters.

Family life takes up much of Adele’s time out of the office. She loves a challenge, including building an energy efficient house, learning French with her children and challenging herself in the gym. She can deadlift and squat her own bodyweight and is currently working on mastering pull-ups.

Click here to follow Adele’s Facebook blog on Immigration.

Adele specialises in the following areas:

What Adele’s Clients Say

“It’s wonderful to have you helping people to secure a place in New Zealand. I give my full support to you and your employer, Saunders & Co. You have done a terrific job in securing a visa for my new wife who was living in Thailand. Your empathy for our situation, when first denied a visa in Thailand, was appreciated so much and through your hard work and experience we were able to get her to New Zealand to be with me. I would recommend your services to anybody that has to deal with immigration to obtain entry into NZ or is struggling with criteria involving immigration. I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and efforts on Santana’s behalf.”
Tony Smith

Thanks to Adele for making my resident application successful. The response she sent to immigration was so impressive. As a franchise manager of a retail establishment, mine was a difficult case. However, with Adele’s expertise, Immigration New Zealand approved my resident visa in 6 days after her response to INZ. I highly recommend Adele.
Baljinder Singh

Buvanis Karuppiah

Legal Executive

Phone: +64 3 379 7690
Mobile: +64 22 500 9959
Office: Ferrymead

Buvanis is based at our Ferrymead office of Saunders & Co where she started as a legal executive in February 2016

She has a PhD in Law from the University of Otago, along with a Masters of Law and Bachelor of Laws (with Honours) from the National University of Malaysia. Buvanis is currently studying extramurally in order to cross-credit her Malaysian qualifications and be admitted to the New Zealand Bar.

With fluency in the Malay and Tamil languages, Buvanis is able to communicate with people from a number of countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Southern India, Southern Thailand, Brunei, and Sri Lanka.

She applies her language skills and culture to her interest in immigration law and other areas that involve migrants and their settlement process in New Zealand, such as property conveyancing, estates administration, wills, trusts, setting up businesses and companies and other commercial matters.

Buvanis is involved with various projects organised by the New Zealand Society of Interpreters and Translators. Recently, she was involved in translating the Treaty of Waitangi into Malay language.

Buvanis specialises in the following area:

Cam Derby

Legal Executive

Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0313
Mobile: 021 105 7708
Office: CBD

Cam is an Executive who joined Saunders & Co in April 2018. He is currently working with the Immigration Team, whilst also completing his Professional Studies and is looking to be admitted to the Bar at the end of the year. Cam completed a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours at University of Canterbury. Since then he has worked throughout the Immigration field gaining extensive knowledge in almost all parts of this area.

Cam also has an interest in employment law and the crossover that occurs between employment and immigration.

Beyond immigration work, Cam also looks forward to increased involvement in assisting clients with the purchase of property and updating wills.

Outside of work Cam is an avid sports fan and enjoys spending time with his young family and two Maltese terriers.

Cam specialises in

Jen Bensley


Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1462
Mobile: +64 27 321 4477
Office: CBD

Jen was admitted to the Bar in December 2010 after completing a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science from the University of Canterbury. Since then, she has specialised in the field of Immigration law, whilst also practicing commercial and property law. She now heads the Immigration Team at Saunders & Co.

Jen and her team provide migrant clients with a full range of services, assisting them from the outset of their migration to New Zealand through to obtaining residency and citizenship and, where necessary, advocating for them to the Immigration Protection Tribunal and in the Courts.

Beyond immigration work Jen also assists migrant clients with other legal matters pertinent to their successful settlement in New Zealand, such as the purchase of property or updating wills.

In addition, she works with companies large and small, to educate them on employment obligations under Immigration law, and advises on how companies can best utilise the immigration system to help meet their labour requirements.

In the commercial and conveyancing space, Jen is a general practitioner who assists her clients with the sale and purchase of property and businesses, small-scale development projects, drafting commercial documents, and financial and asset planning.

Outside of work, Jen enjoys travelling and camping with her young family and two German Shepherds.

Jen specialises in the following areas:

What Jen’s clients say

“The expertise, professionalism, understanding and results provided by Jen Bensley of Saunders & Co have been absolutely outstanding. I contacted Jen outside office hours on a public holiday as I was having many issues with my residency application and was not getting the assistance /knowledge needed by my current immigration lawyer at the time. To my surprise Jen replied straightaway offering her willingness to assist my situation even though it was a public holiday. My residency application had many issues and Jen was able to overcome them all in a very short time and always kept me updated with every step. Thanks to Jen my residency application was successful and I can now plan my future in NZ. I will definitely be using Saunders in the future, if needed, as well as recommending their excellent services.”
Andrew Hannaway

“Jen, thank you so much for all your help with my residence visa. You made me feel confident and took away my worries, also helped explain each stage of the process. The personal touch is a lot nicer than feeling you’re talking to a machine. Thank you for putting up with all my questions and always being so good to reply straightaway. I appreciate all your help and would fully recommend you. Thank you once again”
Nikhil Sharma

“Saunders & Co has a great reputation for being an excellent team of lawyers. They are highly professional persons, able to deliver the best results in a timely manner. Jen Bensley was my immigration lawyer and she was able to resolve an issue that occurred. Undoubtedly, Jen’s knowledge on immigration policies is outstanding.”
Maria Korotaeva

“When my partner and I were looking to purchase our first home together, a friend suggested we get in touch with Jen Bensley and we are certainly glad that we did.
Jen was friendly, efficient and thorough. She made buying our first home, a potentially stressful time, stress free and easy. We couldn’t be happier with how everything went and we will be sure to use Jen again in the future.”
Tom Keith

“Jen Bensley was my immigration lawyer. Thanks to her I am in New Zealand with my family. We had a difficult time trying to get a visa to be with my husband for a while without success. Once, Jen took over our case it was a success. Thanks Jen.”
Christine Octaviano

“Jennifer Bensley, who helped my family with visas, was very easy to work with, had great knowledge about the immigration policy and was very easy to get in contact with. She was very professional from start to finish.”
Jag Singh

Julia Lang


Direct dial: +64 3 966 7705
Mobile: 022 092 3454
Office: CBD

Julia is a lawyer who joined Saunders & Co in early 2018 after completing a Bachelor of Laws through the University of Canterbury.

Julia’s primary focus is on Immigration law, having studied and developed a keen interest in this area of law during her final year of study. Julia is professional, details-oriented and prides herself on being able to achieve the best possible results for her clients. While most of her work is in immigration she also, on occasion, deals with Intellectual Property law.

Outside of work, Julia is a passionate animal lover and spends much of her spare time training her dogs, as well as attending and photographing local dog agility competitions. Julia also volunteers with Canine Friends Pet Therapy and the Blind Foundation’s Guide Dogs, and has recently joined the New Zealand Animal Law Association.

Julia specialises in the following areas of law:

Read Julia’s Article on Post-Study Work Rights of International Students


CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

Ferrymead: Unit 2, 987 Ferry Road, Christchurch, NZ

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

© Saunders & Co. 2018 Terms of Use Website design by Fox. Online Will and EPA powered by Justly.
Back to Top