Visa approvals place Indians atop the immigration counter

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Venkat Raman

The number of Visas issued by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) under various categories over the past three years registered an increase of about 54.6% over those issued during the previous three-year period, Indian Newslink can reveal.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway (File Photo)

We can also reveal that Indians were among the major beneficiaries, accounting for more than 16.1% of all approvals across all nationalities during this period.

In terms of numbers, the total number of visas of all types issued from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019 stood at 1,539,143, compared to 996,629 for the period from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016. The share of Indians rose marginally to 15.24% (2017-2019) as against slightly less than 15% recorded during 2014-2016.

Significant increase

The total number of visas of all types issued to people of Indian origin, both onshore and offshore during the 2017-2019 period was 234,326, accounting for an increase of more than 57% over the figure of 149,103 visas approved during the period from 2014 to 2016.

Last year (January 1 to December 31, 2019), the total number of visas of all categories issued to Indians (both onshore and offshore) was 84,295 compared to 57,819 visas issued during 2016.

This represents a rise of more than 45% in the two calendar years during which two different governments were in charge of immigration.

The figures prove a point: that there is considerable misinformation regarding the current coalition government, which has been generally portrayed as ‘anti-immigration.’ It also proves that the New Zealand First Party, which is a part of the coalition government, has not interfered with the immigration process over the past three years.

No political interference

This is again proved by official statistics. The total number of all categories of visas processed (including those declined) between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019 was 1.69 million (1,689,817), compared to the total number of visas processed between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2019, which stood at about 1.08 million (1,078722). The increase was about 56.7%.

The total number of Essential Skills Visas issued to Indians onshore and offshore has also registered a significant increase- from 6112 in 2017 to 7799 in 2018 and 10,766 in 2019, compared to 4165 (2014), 4654 (2015) and 4788 (2016).

Rise in visitor numbers

Again, contrary to general belief, the total number of General Visa applications approved for Indians also rose sharply from 135,496 between 2014-2016 to 209,649 during 2017-2019, accounting for a  rise of about 54.8% between the two comparative periods.

The number of visas issued to all foreign nationals (except Australians who are exempt) under General Visa category rose from 439,882 in 2017 to 499,942 in 2018 but dropped to 474,097 in 2019. The comparative figures for the previous three years are 231,661 (2014), 304,091 (2015) and 371,146 (2016).

Student Visas

As reported in our February 1, 2020 issue, the number of students from overseas has registered a significant rise- 33.3% ​in the past three years.

The total number of student applications approved for the three-year period covering January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019 was 42,646 (as against 53,670 applications received). This figure represented a significant rise over the three-year period covering 2014 to 2016- a total of 32,024 applications approved (as against 61,564 applications received).

The number of student visas approved for students from India during 2019 was 14,751, compared to 13,450 in 2018 and 14,445 in 2017. During the previous three years, the number of student visas approved was 7503 (2016), 12,584 (2015) and 11,937 (2014).

Based on the above statistics, our analysis shows that the average approval rate rose from 52% during 2014-2016 to 79% during 2017-2019 three-year periods.

New Zealand more attractive

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway told Indian Newslink that while the number of visa applications has registered a significant increase, Immigration New Zealand has processed and approved more applications since September 2017, when he was given the portfolio.

“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. I am constantly asking our officers to work hard and deliver quicker service despite the challenges,” he said.

No lapsing of pending applications

Mr Lees-Galloway refuted reports appearing in some sections of the media that the government was planning to lapse pending applications for visas.

“There is no such plan. 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. 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.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway (File Photo)


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