INZ to fast-track residence visas for high earners

Immigration NZ (INZ) has announced it will fast-track residence visas for high earners in order to help clear an application backlog.

Some applicants have been waiting in the queue since 2018, causing INZ to state it will now prioritise fewer new residence applications.

Instead, INZ will now prioritise Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Residence from Work visa applications for immigrants with an annual salary higher than NZ$106,080 or jobs needing occupational registration.

INZ says that this decision means the priority queue will have a smaller proportion of total applications on hand, meaning they’ll be able to resume allocating applications from the general queue in the date order in which they were received.

Unpublished criteria to fast-track certain applications have been used internally since the middle of 2018, replacing “first-in, first-out” decision-making.

Current Immigration New Zealand (INZ) figures show a quarter of SMC residence applications take more than a year and one in 10 wait more than 15 months.

The announcement follows a number of complaints being submitted to ombudsman regarding how long visa processing takes, and INZ’s previously unpublished fast-track processing policy.

Article published 26th February 2020