Requesting urgent visa processing for employees

As many employers will be aware Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has a large backlog of temporary visa applications, which are taking a number of months to be processed. This is creating a lot of undue pressure on business’ who require staff to commence (or remain working in) their current employment.

Recently, INZ created a new process to respond to escalation requests for urgent allocation for employment related visas (and associated family members) for both Temporary Work Visas and Skilled Resident Visas.

This includes all employment related visas held at the Manukau, Christchurch, Porirua (excluding visas being processed by the Business Team), Henderson and Manila offices of INZ.

A mailbox is being monitored and actioned by a team of dedicated Immigration Managers who will assess these requests for escalation. A request for escalation will be considered against the following criteria:

  • Compelling personal circumstances;
  • Humanitarian factors, and
  • Matters of national interest.

The email address for escalation consideration is: EmploymentVisaEscalations@mbie.govt.nz

INZ have advised that they will respond to all requests within two working days to confirm if the application will be prioritised for urgent allocation or not. The Immigration Manager’s determination of any request for escalation is final and they will not respond to further communication about the request and justification around the decision.

In practice we have found that INZ have indeed been quite responsive for these types of requests, although ironically from our point of view the exercise of discretion now to advance processing can be easily refused for those circumstances outside the restrictive criteria now applied.

On the other hand at least this will provide a dedicated team to review these requests instead of Case Officers, who instead of spending all their time responding to progress requests from visa applicants they are now free to spend their time actually getting through the backlog.

Workplace Law team

If you have any queries in respect of the above, or any other workplace law issues, please contact a member of Lane Neave’s Workplace Law team:

Employment: Andrew Shaw, Fiona McMillan, Gwen DrewittMaria Green,  Hannah Martin, Joseph HarropHolly StruckmanAlex Beal, Giuliana Petronelli, Abby Shieh
Immigration: Mark Williams, Rachael Mason, Daniel Kruger, Nicky Robertson, Julia StrickettKen Huang, Mary Zhou, Shi Sheng Cai (Shoosh)Sarah Kirkwood, Janeske SchutteLingbo Yu
ACC: Andrew Shaw
Health and Safety: Andrew ShawFiona McMillan

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