How covid restrictions are affecting visa applications

Immigration blog

Immigration New Zealand is operating under covid alert level restrictions. Paper applications are currently unable to be processed as their offices are closed and staff are working from home.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has advised that due to information security and privacy reasons, they are currently unable to process paper applications. Current Covid level restrictions mean that INZ staff are working from home and paper applications are unable to be removed from their offices.

Visa processing timeframes are also being impacted.

INZ are currently processing the following visa categories online:
• Border Exceptions
• Essential Skills work visas
• Work to Residence visas
• Partnership visas (temporary and residence)
• Post-study work visas
• Student visas
• Visitor visas
• Section 61 requests

INZ are also continuing to monitor Employment Visa Escalation requests, and an interim reconsideration process of a temporary entry decision for onshore applicants has been set up.

Visa processing for most applicants outside of New Zealand is still on hold. This is because people who are not New Zealand citizens or residents are unlikely to meet the current entry requirements.

Essential Skills Visa application now available online
On 19 July 2021, changes were made to Essential Skills visas to streamline application processing and increase visa duration for some workers who are staying with the same employer. As a result, you can now apply for the Essential Skills Work Visa online here.

Migrant Exploitation Visa
Employment New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand can help protect migrants from being exploited. This process is now online – migrants should visit Employment New Zealand to complete the form. You can also report migrant exploitation using this online reporting form

You can find more information about the impact of covid restrictions on visa applications on the Immigration New Zealand website.

If your visa is about to expire, or you require assistance or clarification, please contact our Immigration specialist Amalie Blackman