With increased processing capacity of 70% and the ability for some staff to access INZ offices INZ is now able to resume the processing of paper applications such as residence class visa applications and formally prioritise both residence class and temporary entry class visa applications.
In terms of residence class visa applications, priority will be given where the applicant is in New Zealand. For onshore applications priority will be given as below
- For Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), priority will be given to applications with job offers where:
- Applicants have an hourly rate equivalent to or higher than twice the median wage (currently $51.00 per hour or an annual salary of $106,080 or more).
- Applicants hold current occupational registration where registration is required by immigration instructions.
- For Residence from Work Category applications (Talent (Accredited Employer), Talent (Arts, Culture and Sport), South Island Contribution, Religious Worker and Long Term Skill Shortage List), priority will be given to:
- Applications which include a job offer with an hourly rate equivalent to or higher than twice the median wage (currently $51.00 per hour or an annual salary of $106,080 or more);
- Applications which include a job offer which requires occupational registration where occupational registration is required by immigration instructions.
Second priority will be given to residence class visa applications where the applicant is out of New Zealand.
In terms of temporary entry class visa applications, priority will be given to applications for critical workers to support the Government response to COVID-19 and for other temporary visa applicants that are in New Zealand.
Further changes may be needed to the prioritisation criteria as international travel restrictions change, and more information becomes available about the effects of COVID-19 on the domestic labour market.
Immigration officers retain the discretion to prioritise other applications where the circumstances of the application require particular urgency.
As INZ transitions through the various alert levels processing will be resumed for most of the application categories.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online for eligible visas. Paper applications will take longer to process because of the reduced capacity of staff in onshore offices. There will also be an increase in the time and effort required in processing some visa application types due to additional requests for information or comment being required.
We will keep you updated of any further changes.
National Area Documentation Office (NaDO)
The National Area Documentation Office (NaDO) has now reopened with a small number of staff now able to work onsite. The NaDO staff have been focused on opening and tendering the high volume of mail received during the lockdown period.
What date will be used as the lodgement date of my application that I couriered in / posted in?
The received application date will be the date that is shown on the courier consignment note. If there is no date to be found, the received date applied will be the date INZ opens your application at NaDO.
What if I want to dispute the date of lodgement of my visa application?
INZ understands that it has been difficult to complete and submit paper applications during COVID-19 lockdown. Disputes of lodgement dates may be considered on a case by case basis once the application has been allocated.
I have been granted an extension to my visa under the Epidemic Management Notice. Will the visa application I submitted still be processed?
Yes. Applications will continue to be processed in line with processing priorities during COVID-19.
What if my paper visa application is incomplete because I have not been able to get all the required documents during the Covid19 lockdown? Will my visa application be returned due to failing to meet mandatory lodgement requirements?
No. INZ understands that it may have been difficult to submit all required documents with your paper application. INZ will note the missing documents at lodgement and request that you provide the mandatory documents as soon as you are able. INZ will not be able to process the application until the required documents have been received.