Recent media reports suggest that as of 15 May, 97,179 applications including 194,632 people had been received and 21,364 applications had been approved – with residence visas for 48,327 people issued. The government has pledged that 80 percent of applications will be decided within 12 months.

National immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford said Immigration New Zealand’s processing rate meant it would not hit the target until October 2023.  The original suggestions of “warp speed” rapid processing were never matched by sufficient staff.

You can track weekly progress on applications here:


From a peak of over 1800 applications approved in the week ended 10 April Immigration New Zealand has recently been averaging around 800 and in the last week reported, 22 May, managed to finalise only 507 applications. Our educated guess is that they have tweaked the rate of what comes through the automated system to cope with the reduced staff, unfortunately.

Phase 1 applications have mainly been promptly decided but that was before half the staff got re-allocated to offshore applications.


Government has automatically extended some essential skills visas which are close to expiry which reduces that workload, but as at 31 May more staff will be transferred across as they begin to process offshore partnership visas which have sat unprocessed while the border was closed.


Our other concern is that there may be a spike in applications towards the end of July when the category is due to close to new applications. At that point no one completely knows what the total number of applications will be.


We received a more detailed list of the processing stages (this is highly automated) from Immigration New Zealand. Many applications appear to be stuck in the early preparing application stage which is an automated stage:

The 2021 residence category is open until 31 July 2022. Contact our friendly team to check whether you are eligible for this category or for assistance to make an application.