Immigration Updates - New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND FULLY AUTOMATES ITS VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

Henceforth, people wanting to apply either for a study, work or a holiday visa in New Zealand can apply online without needing to provide their passports and other manually filled-in forms.

Expatforum.com quotes two new reports as saying that a new automated process has changed immigration services by accepting online applications. It owes largely to the Vision 2015 programme’s success. Put in place in March 2012 and closed officially in June 2016, it has allowed the cutting-edge identity management system to be implemented.

This process lets photos and fingerprint data of applicants to be gathered online. They are then verified against personal data that the INZ (Immigration New Zealand) has in its possession.

According to Michael Woodhouse, the New Zealand Immigration Minister, INZ has already received over 80,000 applications online and many of those who applied online are now eligible to apply for a visa without having to send in their passports. Woodhouse said that they had set up over 40 visa application centres across the nation to provide a much-improved service to the customers and have forged partnerships with highly reliable tourism service providers to provide quick processing of high-value and low-risk applicants.

Prior to the Vision 2015 programme’s launch, the south Pacific’s country’s immigration programme was manual and paper-based and visa applications were received and processed by physical offices. The earlier process was not able to meet the ever-increasing load of applications since it was developed and established in the early 1990s when the internet was not yet born. In addition, it was incurring more expenditure for its maintenance and was unprepared to meet the growing demands of the future.

Nigel Bickle, INZ Deputy Chief Executive, said that INZ was not fully geared up to appreciate immigration’s complete potential before Vision 2015 and, therefore, was unable to do its bit to add value to the growing economy, which is a crucial mission of the government.

Bickle added that immigration was an important driver of New Zealand’s economy as immigrants made up 25 percent of its workforce, and they also comprised 60 percent of the growing worker population of the country in the past few years. New Zealand competes with other developed nations to attract skilled workers, and to emerge triumphant in that race, it was necessary to have an accurately performing immigration system, said Bickle.

An independent evaluation has revealed that this new programme was likely to attain its aims and offer a modern visa operating scheme, which had substantial improvements made to it. Going forward, immigration documentation would be electronically handled and 80 percent of the transactions would be carried out online.


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