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New Zealand Residence visa processing update


As you may be aware, there have been significant increases in the number of resident visa applications received under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Residence from Work (RfW) category, resulting in high on-hand volumes and longer processing times for applicants.

New Zealand Residence Programme

INZ’s role is to process and approve residence applications in line with the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) which is set by the Government. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is resourced in line with the NZRP, not in line with the number of residence applications received.

The Government has not yet finalised the new NZRP. In the meantime,  INZ is continuing to process applications at the same volume and with the same level of resourcing the previous NZRP allowed for. We are not able to process and approve more residence applications than the NZRP allows for.

Processing timeframes are published on INZ’s website and are updated fortnightly.

Processing update

SMC and RFW Category applications are currently prioritised for allocation if the principal applicant is onshore and:

    • is paid twice the median wage or higher (currently NZD $51 an hour or NZD $106,800 a year), or
    • works in an occupation where registration is required by immigration instructions and holds that registration.

Applications that don’t meet either criterion for prioritisation are allocated to an immigration officer in the order they are received.

Since 22 September 2020, we have been allocating:

  • non-prioritised SMC and RfW applications received in March 2019, and
  • prioritised SMC and RfW applications, within 2 weeks of their submission.

What this means for applicants

To be granted residence in New Zealand is a privilege, not a right. Being in New Zealand, or having lodged a residence application does not automatically give an individual the right to remain in New Zealand permanently and does not guarantee that their residence application will be approved. Criteria for residence visa approval must be met at the time an application is assessed, not when it was submitted.

It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure they remain lawful if they are in New Zealand while their residence application is being decided. There will be some people who will not have their applications processed before their current temporary visa expires.

Applicants who do not meet the prioritisation criteria for allocation and are no longer eligible for another temporary visa should make a plan to depart New Zealand if they can no longer remain here lawfully.

We will continue to provide you with regular updates on SMC and RfW processing.


FAQs

Q: Why is it taking so long to process these applications?

A:There have been significant increases in the volume of resident visa applications received under the SMC and RfW category.

INZ’s role as a regulator is to process and approve applications in line with immigration instructions and the NZRP planning range set by the Government of the day. INZ has consistently issued approved residence applicants within the NZRP planning range every year.

A residence visa allows an individual to reside in New Zealand permanently. Residence applications take longer to process as there is more at stake and there is greater scrutiny of each application. This combined with the significant volumes received means that allocation of new applications to an immigration officer can take longer.

 

Q: How can I get my/my client’s application processed faster?

A: The Employment Visa Escalation process is available for requesting urgent allocation of employment related visas (and associated family members) for both Temporary Work Visas and residence applications based on employments. The threshold for escalation is very high and requests are considered against the following criteria:

  • compelling personal circumstances
  • humanitarian factors
  • matters of national interest.

 

Q: Your application has taken so long to process, and do not qualify for another temporary visa. You are about to become unlawful. What should you do?

A: There will be some people who will not have their applications processed before their current temporary visa expires. Those people will need to consider applying for a temporary visa that best fits their circumstances or make plans to depart New Zealand and await the outcome of their residence application offshore.

It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure they remain lawfully in New Zealand while their residence application is being decided.

Applicants who do not meet the prioritisation criteria for allocation and are no longer eligible for another temporary visa should make a plan to depart New Zealand if they can no longer remain here lawfully.

Q: Your job has changed since you applied. What will this mean when INZ start processing the application?

A: There may be some applicants whose situations have changed since they applied, such as their employer may no longer be accredited, they may not be receiving the same salary any more, or their role has changed. All individuals are required to meet the relevant immigration requirements for residence at the time their application is assessed, not at the time they apply. INZ may request more information when we process the application.


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The post New Zealand Residence visa processing update appeared first on Australian Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers Melbourne | SeekVisa.

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