New Zealand visa application programme now fully electronic

by Ray Clancy on August 9, 2016

People seeking visas for work, study and holidays in New Zealand can now apply online and avoid having to send in their passports and other documentation.

A new streamlined system has transformed immigration services by facilitating online applications, according to two new reports.

new-zealandThe success of the Vision 2015 programme, which was launched in March 2012 and formally closed in June this year, means that the country now has a state of the art identity management system.

The programme enables face photos and fingerprint information from applicants to be captured online and automatically matched against personal data already held by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said that more than 80,000 online applications have already been received and many online applicants can now apply for a visa without having to send in their passports.

He explained that more than 40 Visa Application Centres have been set up all over the world to give customers a better service and trusted partnerships have been established with tourism providers to enable the facilitation of high value, low risk visa applicants.

Before the introduction of Vision 2015 the country’s immigration programme was paper based, relying on people and physical offices to receive and process visa applications. The ICT system was struggling to meet demands as it had been designed and built in the early 1990s, in the pre-internet era, the reports point out. It was also expensive to maintain and an unsuitable platform for future online services.

‘Before Vision 2015, INZ was not set up to realise the full potential of immigration to contribute to a more productive and competitive economy, which is a key government goal,’ said INZ deputy chief executive Nigel Bickle.

‘Immigration is an important economic driver, one in four New Zealand workers are migrants, and migrants have made up 60% of workforce growth in recent years. New Zealand competes globally for skilled and talented migrants, and a properly functioning immigration system is critical to winning that race,’ he added.

According to an independent assessment the programme is expected largely to achieve its objectives and deliver a materially improved and contemporary visa operating model. Some 100% of immigration documentation will be managed electronically and 80% of transactions will be handled online.

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