Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) processing delays can easily lead to confusion and stress for applicants. Recent publicity around the increasing delays reminds us that, while delays have always been a fact of life, we’ve now reached a crisis point for many applicants and employers.
Some categories have delays of between four and five months (as at May 2019) before even being allocated, ie. before processing begins. For those applying for essential skills work visa within New Zealand the completion time as at May 2019 was up to four months from lodgement.
The decision to close more than 70 per cent of the INZ offices, and new processing guidelines are designed to restructure and refine the process. New staff are being recruited and trained in the updated low-touch, high-touch application system (which determines whether an application is fast-tracked for processing), There are still plenty of ways to limit the possibility of a delay.
Apply to INZ early and provide full information
The easiest way to avoid delays in your application is to ensure you provide full information as early as possible. Applications made on paper instead of digitally, that are missing key information or supporting evidence, or where there are previous issues for the applicant or employer are at the highest risk of delay.
Crucially, more evidence is being asked of employers than ever before, which requires a strong focus and clear communication to ensure all supplementary information is accurate and complete. As a starting point:
- Employers should organise renewal applications at least three months before the current visa expires.
- Employer supplementary forms should be completed.
- Employment agreements must fully comply with employment law.
- The onus is on the employer in their ability to sustain the role and to ensure advertising has taken place.
- All employers will have to obtain accreditation to prove they are fit to employ even just one migrant.
- Full evidence of experience and qualifications that match the position where needed must also be provided.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives a good example of how much additional, complementary information is required in the process. The easiest way to know if you’ve included everything required is to speak to a trusted immigration advisor.
Push for greater transparency during the process
A common frustration in the immigration process is not knowing the status of your application or the supporting information taken into consideration – not all of it will appear in a letter.
It can be challenging to find out the exact information being used by INZ, and while transparency is sometimes lacking, working with a team like Pacific Legal will ensure full disclosure of information as often as possible.
In a recent case, Pacific Legal Senior Associate, Diana Bell, obtained an internal email that set out a wide range of assumptions and concerns a client knew nothing about, and was subsequently left out of the official AMS database.
Our team have made a number of complaints to INZ and the Privacy Commissioner around these issues, as we strive to make the process clearer for our clients.
Getting help with your immigration application with INZ
The team at Pacific Legal is always aiming to improve application outcomes. We’ve provided feedback through the New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment and Auckland District Law Society around the process, and our Director, Richard Small, is on the committee for both organisations and in regular contact with senior INZ management.
As a result, we’ve been able to fast-track some cases, while helping educate the public and create discussion around the need for change. Richard has been interviewed about delays in the partnership areas recently by Radio New Zealand, and our legal team have attended Decision Ready workshops with Immigration New Zealand in Auckland and Wellington, aimed at helping to improve and speed up the application process.
Pacific Legal provides a free, 20-minute preliminary assessment, either by Skype or by appointment in person for employers. Skilled migrants can view our assessment form online – once we have all information our response time is between two and three days.
Pacific Legal is your trusted award winning partner for all Immigration matters. To learn more about our trusted immigration services, read about cases we’ve helped on previously, or call our team today on 0800 722 534.