New Zealand has set up an incident management team to speed up skilled and visitor visa application processing.
Employer Accreditation applications are now being processed in as little as ten days, and Job Checks are also expected to have similar processing times.
New Zealand’s Minister of Immigration, Michael Wood, said the incident management team would help get the resources in to try and clear up any points clogging up the application processing times.
Immigration New Zealand also said applicants and employers should expect to see more such measures introduced to help with visa processing times over the next weeks and months.
The team, called the Reconnecting New Zealand (RCNZ) Incident Management Team (IMT), has been established to support Immigration New Zealand with these efforts.
The team will also have the authority to make decisions and ensure all visa applications are smoothly processed.
Mr Wood said New Zealand’s visa processing was going well in general and that such incident management teams are set up periodically to boost performances in a wide range of areas – particularly the work and visitor visas.
He also explained that the incident team would be in place for as long as needed to get things moving swiftly to the level required by the government.
Richard Owen, general manager of Immigration New Zealand, said the demand for visitor visas was three times higher than previous expectations when the border reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said Employer Accreditation applications are now being processed in ten days or less, and Job Checks are in line for a similar timeframe.
He also acknowledged there is more work to be done to process work and visitor visas at the speed expected by applicants and employers as the new visa processing platform continues to bed in.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said the new incident management team could use the ministry’s resources to help deliver results, as the county suffers from chronic skills shortages.
New Zealand is also set to see a surge in student visa applications from September, which will pile more pressure on Immigration New Zealand with a new wave of applications.