An understanding of NZ visa processing times

Blog By Borey Chum

It astounds me the number of people I speak to about their emigration plans and how many of these people do not have an immigration strategy in place. An immigration strategy is simply a blue print any migrant must put in place and follow. An immigration strategy should determine what type of visa a migrant will apply for, an understanding of the total costs involved, path forward and time frames that are involved.

Pertinent to any immigration strategy is an understanding the processing times of each type of visa. This article attempts to give you an understanding of the process times for the more popular visas lodged in the London Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Branch and what could delay the processing times of an application.

Temporary Visas

The table below is taken from the INZ website as of 29 June 2015 and shows the percentage of applications processed in the branch within 25 days for the last three months.

Percentage of visa applications processed within 25 days
Visa type February 2015 March 2015 April 2015
Student 96% 96% 94%
Visitor 94% 93% 91%
Work 94% 93% 91%

Work to Residence Visas

Applications will be completed within 5 working days if there are no complications.

Skilled Migrant Category – Residence Application

  • Expression of Interest (with job offer)

INZ will make a first assessment within 10 working days of your EOI being drawn from the pool.

 

  • Expression of Interest (without job offer)

INZ make a first assessment within 20 working days of your EOI being drawn from the pool.

  • Skilled Migrant application (with job offer)

INZ will process your application within one to three months from the date the lodgement.

  • Skilled Migrant application (without job offer)

INZ will place your application, once submitted in a managed queue. Once the application is allocated INZ will process your application within one to six months of allocation to a INZ Immigration Officer.

It may take INZ three months from the date of lodgement to allocate your application to an INZ Immigration Officer and therefore in total it may take INZ six to twelve months to process your application from the date of lodgement.

Family Categories – Residence Applications

 

  • Family Partnership and Family Dependant Child

INZ will process your application within one to three months from the date the lodgement.

  • Family Parent Tier One

INZ will place your application, once submitted in a managed queue. Once the application is allocated INZ will process your application within one to six months of allocation to an INZ Immigration Officer.

It may take INZ three months from the date of lodgement to allocate your application to an INZ Immigration Officer and therefore in total it may take INZ six to twelve months to process your application from the date of lodgement.

Factors impacting on the processing of visa applications

 

Whilst the above processing times are indicative, it can be difficult to give an accurate timeframe for the processing of applications as every application is unique and has a set of different circumstances. Health medical referrals, character issues (such as a criminal record), relationship documentation, labour market tests, custody issues, dependency issues, occupational registration issues, missing employment documents and missing documentation can all cause delays in reaching a decision.

Obtaining Professional NZ Immigration Advice

As New Zealand immigration policy is job led, it is most likely that you have a job offer in place. I therefore would encourage all applicants to obtain professional New Zealand immigration advice and contact us and complete a free New Zealand Visa Evaluation, which will allow us to assess your visa eligibility and advise you on the timeframes that will apply to your circumstances.

With our assistance, we will also be able to mitigate any possible delays in the future by advising you if any of the above factors may be applicable to you and for you to obtain the necessary documents and information to avoid future delays.  If engaged to assist you with your application, we will also be in contact with INZ to ensure the timely processing of your application and have the ability to escalate any delays to the Managers within the INZ London Branch.

At the moment a lot of our clients applications are being referred to the medical assessor, which can add a delay of up to four to six weeks, understandably this will be of concern to you and your future New Zealand employer especially if you have booked plane tickets etc.

We advise all of our clients not to make irreversible plans, such as buying one-way travel tickets or selling their houses, until they have a decision on their application.

In summary, obtaining professional New Zealand immigration advice will save you a lot of frustration, time and money in the long run, and will allow you to follow through with the timelines, pursuant to your immigration strategy. If you have a job offer in place, your future New Zealand employer will require you to be in New Zealand on a certain date to commence employment.

Obtaining professional advice will give you peace of mind that you are applying for the correct visa, you have obtained the required documents and have lodged a correct application and you can plan accordingly and most importantly this will free up time for other important factors of your move to New Zealand.

Start planning your immigration strategy

A great forum for understanding the important elements of immigration, and to start setting your own immigration strategy, is our ‘This is… New Zealand‘ Seminars.

Book your tickets to our latest Seminars here:

Seminar London - November 1st - 6PM
Seminar Bristol - November 5th - 12PM
Seminar Birmingham - November 12th - 12PM
Seminar Manchester - November 13th - 12PM

These quarterly seminars are held over the country and give you a chance to hear directly from us and other companies, such as MoneyCorp Bank of New ZealandNew Zealand Skills in Demand and Migration Cover, and ask questions you may not have answers to yet. To find a seminar near you click here.