New visa, same problems

The Immigration Minister has shockingly admitted to just how underprepared Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is to cope with an influx of 2021 Resident Visa applications says National’s Immigration Spokesperson, Erica Stanford.

“The Minister informed me in response to questions I asked that INZ only has 105 immigration officers currently processing 2021 Resident Visa applications. This is despite the Minister receiving advice from officials that INZ would need more than 200 officers to meet their target of processing 80 percent of applications within 12 months.

“INZ needs to be processing 1,700 applications a week to meet their target. Yet in the first 3 weeks they have somehow only processed 506. They’re already behind their target by over 4,500 applications. Without proper staffing INZ will continue to play catch up.

“When National released our plan to solve the immigration crisis months ago, we called on the Minister to improve resourcing for the residency processing team at INZ so they could clear the backlog of applications that had built up under this Government’s watch.

“We raised concerns that without proper resourcing, the Immigration Minister’s 2021 Resident Visa plan would simply shift migrants out of one immigration queue of misery to another even longer queue.

“With every week that passes it is looking more and more like this will be the case.

“To make matters worse, processing of other visa categories has been put on ice so immigration officers can focus on 2021 Resident Visa applications. Processing times for these visas will also start to balloon out and migrants will have no choice but to look elsewhere overseas.

“The Minister must get his act together and ensure that processing rates start drastically tracking upwards. New Zealand cannot afford another huge failure on immigration.”

  • The attached written question response shows that 105 immigration officers have been assigned to process 2021 Resident Visa applications, as at 13 December 2021.
  • Paragraph 64 of this Cabinet paper shows more than 200 immigration officers would be required to meet the target.