What is the change? New Zealand officials have taken steps to make travel for Chinese nationals easier, including creating a new eVisa programme and launching a Chinese version of the RealMe logon service.

What does the change mean? The changes will build on other measures New Zealand has taken in recent years to make travel easier for Chinese tourists and business travellers. The eVisa programme will allow Chinese nationals to apply for visas online, while the RealMe logon service will make it possible for Chinese nationals to complete the entire visa application process in Chinese.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: The eVisa programme will be available for all temporary visas applications that can be lodged online, including business visas, tourist visas and temporary work visas for single applicants.
  • Who is affected: Chinese business people and tourists travelling to New Zealand.
  • Impact on processing times: The changes will make the visa application process easier and less time-consuming.

Background: New Zealand Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced the changes on 19 April.

The new programmes for Chinese travellers build on other recent efforts to increase travel and develop stronger business ties between the two countries. In 2013, officials from China and New Zealand agreed to launch a three-year, multiple-entry business visa for people travelling between the two countries. New Zealand has also increased the number of staff members dedicated to facilitating travel from China and opened Visa Application Centres in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Woodhouse called China New Zealand’s “second-largest and fastest growing tourist market” and stressed that the recent changes are consistent with the Government’s efforts to make travel from China easier.

BAL Analysis: The changes announced in April to create the eVisa programme and a Chinese version of the RealMe login service should further enhance New Zealand’s efforts to draw more business travellers and tourists from China.

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