New automated system in New Zealand for visa applicants

by Ray Clancy on June 16, 2016

A new identity management system being introduced in New Zealand will mean people applying for a visa having their details matched by an automated programme.

The system, known as IDme, enables face photos and fingerprint information from applicants to be captured online and automatically matched against personal data already held by Immigration New Zealand.

“IDme is a major step change in our ability to protect against identity fraud by non-New Zealanders. It gives greater assurance that the visa system detects and prevents identity fraud,” said Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.


“The move to online visa applications means we need to balance the increased convenience that brings with extra risk mitigation,” he added.

The programme is being released in two stages with the first enabling automated matching of all biographic personal data, fingerprints and a small volume of facial photos. The second release in the last quarter of this year will allow full matching of all applicant photos.

The new identity management system is the latest in a series of customer focused business improvements being made by Immigration New Zealand. Customers can now apply online for student, work and visitor visas, and INZ’s third party partners such as immigration advisers and lawyers can lodge visa applications online on behalf of their clients.

Passport free applications and label less visas, known as eVisas, have been extended to many countries, and a new, more user friendly Immigration New Zealand website is now up and running.

“Collectively, the changes will standardise best practice and consistent, measurable quality standards across Immigration New Zealand. The aim is that customers enjoy the same high quality experience whenever and wherever they engage with Immigration New Zealand,” Woodhouse added.

The move comes as more people than ever are spending time in New Zealand. The latest data shows that international guest nights in April were up 13.4% compared with the same month last year, more than offsetting a drop in domestic guest nights that was due to the timing of Easter.

Total guest nights for April 2016 were 3.7% higher than in April 2015, according to the data from Statistics New Zealand.

“Total guest nights for April were up even though the Easter holidays were in March this year. Last year they were in April,” said Statistics New Zealand business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly.

A breakdown of the figures show that North Island guest nights were up 2.3% and South Island guest nights were up 5.7% while eight of the 12 regional areas had more guest nights and three of the four accommodation types had more guest nights.

For the year ended April 2016, national guest nights were up 5.7% from the April 2015 year and the trend for national guest nights continued to rise in April.

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