Immigration offices have permission to remain in New Zealand renewed
Three Immigration NZ offices that had been earmarked for possible closure have won a reprieve.
The department has been rationalising its office network as its wraps up a $136 million technology project that has seen a growing number of visa applications submitted online.
General manager Stephen Dunstan said its Hamilton, Manukau and Wellington Area offices were scheduled for “review and potential closure”.
But the department had decided to retain the offices to help manage forecast growth in visa volumes.
“Because of the increasing growth in visa processing volumes Immigration NZ has decided not to review the Hamilton, Manukau and Wellington Area offices … it needs these large processing hubs to help to manage the forecast growth in visa volumes,” he said.
Immigration NZ had previously announced its Queenstown office would close by the end of this month, though it will recruit an advisor in the town to provide advice to local employers for at least the next year, he said.
It has also closed its offices in Dunedin, Sydney and Singapore as a result of its new operating model, which has allowed it to centralise the processing of visas in larger “hubs”.
Immigration was reviewing its Dubai office and was scheduled to begin a review of its office in Moscow next month, Dunstan said.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said on Thursday that more than 80,000 visa applications had been received online and many applicants could now apply for visas without having to send in their passports.
Dunstan said efficiency gains were expected over the next three years as a result of the new visa processing operating model and other initiatives.
Although these changes would allow Immigration NZ to be “even more efficient than it is now”, it did not yet know the likely impact on its 1400 staff as it needed to have sufficient resources to cope with the forecast growth in visa applications, he said.