Stricter Scrutiny Delays Immigration Visa Processing

Immigration Visa Processing for a more diverse workplace.

Many employers out there, who are regular uses of the immigration visa system, might have noticed that things are taking a bit longer than usual, particularly when it comes to completing job checks for prospective migrant hires.

Inevitably when the Government rolls out any immigration visa related change, this will create a slower process as officers grapple with the new requirements. The changes introduced in April of this year and then more recently at the end of June, did exactly that, but also carried a message to INZ staff, to check more, ask more questions and generally apply a bigger lens to all applications.

As a consequence, timeframes have increased, and if you read those published on INZ’s website, you might be tempted to avoid the process entirely. However well-prepared applications, managed in the right way can still be processed in a reasonable timeframe and not much longer than we have previously been used to.

How to maximise your timing

One significant factor in the time it takes to process any  visa application, including a job check or the subsequent Accredited Employer Work Visa is the quality of the evidence provided. Previously INZ were relatively “light touch” on this information and minor issues or missing documents were often overlooked. However, with the Government paying much closer attention to the process, the need for clear, robust evidence is paramount.

  • For most employers, there are some really basic ways to ensure your immigration visa application is processed in a timely manner and with little to no back and forth with INZ:
  • Ensure your advertising (where applicable) meets INZ’s requirements, before you post it online. This includes listing the hours for the role, salary ranges and the key duties.
  • Double-check your employment documentation (agreements, HR policies, job descriptions etc.). These need to be up to date with all relevant employment legislation.
  • Prepare your applications well in advance. Making sure you plan ahead and submitting with plenty of time to spare, gives you some room to deal with any questions that INZ might raise, during the process.
  • Follow up regularly. For accreditation renewals and job checks, this involves the employer checking in with INZ to confirm progress. For Work Visa applicants, this involves them checking with INZ directly. Applications often end up in queues, waiting to be ‘actioned’ and so regularly follow ups can help make sure they don’t get lost in those queues.

There is no doubt that INZ are being more cautious in respect of all visa applications, with the AEWV being at the top of that list. By making sure you have the right documentation upfront, plan ahead and keep a close eye on the immigration visa processing, you can ensure your applications go through the process without any major delays.

Requests for priority processing

Occasionally employers will need to request that INZ processes an application with priority – particularly I you have an incumbent staff member departing or a specific project that needs particular resources.

INZ will allow employers to request priority processing for job checks and applicants to request the same for their Work Visa, however how you do this can be a little more complicated that it first appears.

You need to be able to give INZ a legitimate business reason to prioritise the application and it is important to outline the impacts that any delay might have on business continuity, profitability or other staff. Requesting priority is something best handled by those with experience in dealing with INZ and the overall visa process.

Note: Further details on the AEWV changes announced in late June (relating to partners) are available here.


Paul JenssenGuest Author
Paul Janssen is the Manager of Turner Hopkins Services, a specialist New Zealand immigration consultancy, based in Takapuna, Auckland. Paul is fully licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority and has nearly twenty years of industry experience, assisting families, individuals, and businesses to navigate the complexities of the visa system.
Paul and his team work together with their clients, providing realistic and practical advice in a timely and easy to understand manner. Identifying issues at the outset, mapping out the steps involved and managing all aspects of the relocation process.

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