The New Zealand government has said it will soon make an announcement on when the processing of skilled migration residence applications will restart.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, Expressions of Interest (EOI) submitted by skilled migrants to New Zealand applying for residency in the country have not been selected since last year.
The suspension of processing skilled migration residence EOIs was extended further in October of last year, with the government saying that the issue would be reviewed by March of this year.
However, despite the selection process of residence applications by skilled migrants to New Zealand being suspended, Immigration New Zealand continued to accept new applications.
As a result, thousands of new EOIs have been submitted to Immigration NZ, but the halted processing of these EOIs has resulted in a significantly lengthy backlog of applications accumulated for New Zealand’s immigration department to review and select.
Speaking on the processing and selecting of skilled migration residence EOIs, a spokesperson for New Zealand’s immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said that there have been instructions regarding resuming the selection process and that a decision could be announced soon.
Previously, Immigration New Zealand said that because of the lockdowns imposed in NZ to combat the spread of Covid-19, offices were closed, and employees could only process applications submitted online.
However, paper applications which were left behind in the physical offices of Immigration New Zealand were unable to be processed during the lockdowns, which led to the backlog of pending EOIs.
New Zealand also announced a review of its skilled migrant residence category (SMC) earlier this year, but the waiting period of SMC residence applications have also increased, with ‘non-priority’ migrants having to wait up to two years for a decision on their application.