New Zealand announces major immigration application overhaul

Published:  10 Jul at 6 PM
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A NZ$80 million overhaul of New Zealand’s visa application procedures is to take place, with the aim of cracking down on rising abuse of the present system.

The main change will be the phasing out of paper applications over a timeline between 2013 and 2017, with the first stage now complete. Visa holders and applicants can now check their eligibility for a visa online before beginning the application process.

From November this year, those requesting student work visas and certain types of temporary work visas will be able to apply online. According to Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse, the new online International Global Management System (IGMS) will be completed by the end of 2015 and several visa options will be moved online by December this year.

The new system was first proposed in 2007, after it was discovered that a staff member in Bangkok’s NZ immigration office had taken bribes from Cambodian applicants some four years previously. The proposed online system will stop such scams, and will speed up processing and ensure consistent decision-making.

Overseas processing will now take place in a smaller number of regional immigration offices and third-party run Visa Application Centres. By 2017, IGMS is expected to be able to deal with the majority of visas types from application through to final decision by the use of uploaded application forms, photographs and supporting documents.
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