Lockdowns delayed resident visa processing: INZ

The fate of thousands of temporary migrants and their Skilled Migrant (SMC) resident visa applications is hanging by a thread, with waits of up to 23 months. And according to Immigration NZ, due to the recent Auckland lockdowns, applicants could see their processing times delayed even further.

A spokesperson for INZ released a statement this week, saying that the two recent lockdowns and the limitations of remote working have caused the ‘non-priority’ queue to only move one day in four weeks. It’s heart-breaking news for skilled workers who earn less than $106,080 a year or whose job does not need occupational registration.

INZ reassured applicants that it was making ‘steady and regular’ progress in the non-priority queue, being on track to approve between 50,000 and 60,000 residence applications in the 18 months to June 2021.

But fears are mounting among migrants that the delay could be related to an imminent review of permanent visa eligibility criteria, announced by Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi in February.

At the time of this writing, Immigrant NZ expects 50 per cent of SMC resident applications to be completed within 20 months, 75 per cent within 22 months, and 90 per cent within 23 months. See below, or click here for the latest updates. Also, if you’re waiting for your visa and feeling the pressure, check out our recent article on mental wellbeing for temporary migrants.

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