More than one million applications received last year
Auckland, February 11, 2020
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has refuted reports appearing in some sections of the media that the government was planning to lapse pending applications for visas.
He told Indian Newslink, “There is no plan to lapse the pending applications for various types of visas. Any report suggesting so is irresponsible and scare-mongering. In fact, I am encouraging Immigration New Zealand (INZ) officials to speed up the decision-making process,” he said.
Mr Lees-Galloway said that INZ received more than one million visa applications during the last financial year, a record number- across all categories.
With such a large volume, it is inevitable that there is a longer waiting period, he said.
“While the number of visa applications has registered a significant increase, we have processed and approved more applications since we came into office in September 2017. I am constantly asking our officers to work hard and deliver quicker service despite the challenges,” he said.
Processing time reduced
He said that 90% Essential Skills Category applications are processed in less than 64 days; 50% of residency applications under the Skilled Migrants Category are completed within in six months, 75% in less than 12 months and 90% in less than 15 months.
“I agree that there is more work to do and we can perform even better. But there is no question of lapsing the pending applications,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.
According to him, the growth in volume was forecast at 3.4% across all visa categories over four years over the 2017-2018 figures. The following year (2018-2019) recorded another increase of 7.4%, which was almost 40,000 more visa applications over and above the forecast figures.
New Zealand more attractive
“These record volumes of visa applications prove that New Zealand is an attractive destination for education, employment and tourism. The rise in numbers also prove that the New Zealand economy is doing well and there is growing confidence,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.
He visited the Mumbai office of INZ last month to learn first-hand the problems and challenges faced by immigration officials and impressed upon them to expedite processing of applications.
Coming up: Facts and figures of increasing number of arrivals from India.