6 December 2017 at 9:00 am

Changes to visa services get underway

Online applications for New Zealand student visas have now passed 60 percent. Immigration New Zealand’s Celia Coombes says that this shows confidence in the online system.

“Online processing is a feature of the recently announced new Immigration New Zealand operating model,” said Celia.

In early 2018, the change programme will move into full gear. First will be the closure of Hong Kong and the removal of visa processing functions in Dubai. Comprehensive transition plans are being prepared for each of the offices that are closing and for the transfer of work to receiving offices.

Under the new model, visa processing offices will specialise in particular visa types, thereby increasing the depth of knowledge Immigration Officers will have on the visa type being processed in their office. For the education sector, work in future will be shared between three offices: Mumbai, Palmerston North and Beijing (for Chinese students). 

In the event that a student needs to be interviewed as part of the application process, this will usually be carried out by the relevant processing office. This process may also utilise the new risk and verification network. 

INZ is confident that the new model will not lead to a drop in customer service standards. The new model recognises the importance of maintaining market knowledge and will see the implementation of a risk and verification network with a physical presence in Manila, Bangkok, Dubai, Pretoria, Washington DC and London.

There are many countries in the world where INZ has never had an office yet visa applications, including online visa applications, have been successfully dealt with. 

As the new model is introduced over the next two years, INZ will be keen to receive feedback on how the implementation is going from the providers’ perspective. Formal checks on the progress of implementation will take place every six months and if further changes are required these will be explored. 

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