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Not-so-fast tracked residency visa falters on launch - Erica Stanford

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Desperate migrants who woke early today to finally get their residency applications submitted have been embarrassingly let down again as Immigration New Zealand’s online application system crashed, says National’s Immigration Spokesperson Erica Stanford.

"The Government and the Immigration Minister seem be making a habit of damaging the reputation of New Zealand’s immigration system. Under their watch, we’ve had unprecedented backlogs of residency applications, entirely avoidable labour shortages in some of our most crucial sectors, and valuable migrants leaving because they had no path to residency, or they couldn’t reunite with their families. Today’s embarrassment only adds more fuel to the fire.

"What makes matters worse is that Immigration New Zealand knew this was likely to happen, as evident by the fact they asked immigration advisers to not submit all their applications on the first day.

"Rather than making desperate pleas to immigration advisers, the Government and the Immigration Minister should have had a plan in place that would stagger applications over time to ensure this didn’t happen.

"On 8 November 2021, the Immigration Minister told me in response to questions about the 2021 Resident Visa that "Immigration New Zealand (INZ) continues to build its capacity and capability across its visa processing network to ensure it can deliver quick visa decisions for applicants across all visa categories." This was clearly not the case as we have seen today.

"Sources have advised the Opposition that Immigration New Zealand chose to develop the IT system that would manage the R21 Visa applications in-house, clumsily attempting to merge an archaic on-site system with a cloud based system. They currently have dozens of IT workers manually trying to find the glitch in the system which could take days and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"This is another embarrassment for the Government and the Immigration Minister. Our immigration system has already been tarnished enough under the watch of this Government. They finally come forward claiming to have offered a fix to the problems they’ve caused with the announcement of the 2021 Resident Visa, but now they have only made things worse.

"The Immigration Minister must take immediate action to ensure this doesn’t happen again in March 2022 when 90,000 applicants all try to lodge their resident applications."

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