Immigration New Zealand is way behind visa processing target

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Erica Stanford

Erica Stanford
Wellington, December 29, 2021

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.

The Minister informed me in response to questions that 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% of applications within 12 months.

INZ needs to be processing 1700 applications a week to meet its target. Yet in the first three weeks, they have somehow only processed 506. They are already behind their target by over 4500 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 that 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.

Portfolio: Immigration (Hon Kris Faafoi) Question: How many Immigration New Zealand staff, if any, are assigned to process 2021 Resident Visas as of 13 December 2021?

Reply: I am advised that 105 immigration officers have been assigned to process the 2021 Resident Visa applications as of 13 December 2021. 57034 (2021).

Eric Stanford is Member of Parliament elected from East Coast Bays and National Party’s Spokesperson for Immigration and Education and Associate Spokesperson for Ethnic Communities.

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