People applying for visas for New Zealand are able to do so more efficiently with the latest official figures showing that more than 250,000 applications have been made online since the service was launched.

New Zealand is currently one of the most sought after destinations for long term expats seeking to make a new life abroad, with immigration data showing that more are arriving year on year than ever before.

Now the latest official figures show that they are increasingly choosing to make their visa applications online since the system was introduced in August 2014.

‘Immigration Online is helping to transform the immigration system by delivering more efficient visa services and a better customer experience,’ said Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

A rapid uptake in the last year has seen the number of online applications reach 261,000, an increase of more than 80,000 on the previous year and the Government has invested $28.4 million to improve the technology to extend the online system.

‘We are now seeing the benefit of that investment with 60% of visa applicants able to apply online now, expanding to 80% of all visa applicants from early next year. It is more efficient and often less expensive for applicants,’ Woodhouse explained.

‘This is why it is now the preferred channel for submitting temporary work and student visa applications. Immigration Online is an example of the Government’s commitment to deliver better public services by making greater use of technology,’ he added.

Meanwhile the latest jobs figures are likely to make New Zealand an even more attractive destination for expats. The unemployment rate fell to 4.8% in the second quarter of 2017, the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008, after the start of the global financial crisis when it was 4.4%.

The figures from Statistics New Zealand also show that the unemployment rate for women fell to 4.9% with 10,000 fewer women unemployed, the lowest it’s been since March 2009. But the male unemployment rate rose to 4.7%.

New Zealand’s working age population increased 0.5%, up 20,000 people, to 3,801,000. This is the first quarter since September 2015 that employment growth was below population growth.

Filled jobs increased 3%, a rise of 56,600, over the year to the end of June 2017 with professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services, and the construction, industries the largest contributors to this increase.