What is the change? New Zealand has unveiled a two-year plan to shift its visa services away from certain geographic regions and focus processing at fewer overseas locations based on five visa streams: business, education, tourism, community and specialist.

What does the change mean? By June 2019, Immigration New Zealand will cease visa processing in Dubai, Hong Kong, Pretoria, Ho Chi Minh, Moscow, Jakarta, Bangkok, Shanghai, Washington, D.C, New Delhi and Manila. A decision on whether to cease processing in London will be made next month. INZ offices in Auckland Central and Henderson will close and processing for these offices will be relocated to Manukau.

By 2020, processing based on five types of visas will be conducted in the following locations:

  • Business visas: Manukau, Porirua, Christchurch
  • Student visas: Mumbai, Palmerston North, Beijing
  • Tourist visas: Beijing, Porirua
  • Community visas: Hamilton, Porirua
  • Specialist visas: Manukau, Porirua

Key changes and dates:

Location Change Date
Bangkok Processing ceased. Risk and verification retained. September 2018
Dubai Processing ceased. Risk and verification retained. March 2018
Henderson Office closed June 2019
Ho Chi Minh City Office closed May 2018
Hong Kong Office closed March 2018
Jakarta Office closed July 2018
London Proposal to cease processing, retain risk and verification functions. To be confirmed

December 2017

Manila Processing ceased. Risk and verification retained. June 2019
Moscow Office closed June 2018
New Delhi Office closed March 2019
Pretoria Processing ceased. Risk and verification retained. April 2018
Shanghai Office closed October 2018
Washington, D.C. Processing ceased. Risk and verification retained. November 2018

BAL Analysis: Immigration New Zealand is seeking to reduce the need for physical offices offshore by consolidating its visa processing in a few strategically located areas. The agency is expected to offer more online services to reduce the need for offshore offices and replace the staffing there. It is expected that the option to submit applications online will be expanded to more visa categories, including family dependents accompanying foreign workers who currently must submit paper applications. These changes should ultimately make it easier to apply for visas, providing applicants the option to complete forms online and upload supporting documents through the Immigration Online portal.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our Network Provider located in New Zealand. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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