New Zealand High Commission Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Students urged to apply early for visas
Immigration New Zealand is encouraging students to apply early for their visa in order to avoid processing delays, particularly in the peak processing months of February, March and July, when it receives an average of nearly 10,000 applications per month.
Reflecting the importance of the export education sector to the New Zealand economy, INZ has undertaken various initiatives to improve its processing of the 56,000 student applications received annually onshore. This will particularly benefit processing during the peak processing months of February, March and July, when an average of nearly 10,000 applications are received each month.
Initiatives to expedite processing include:
• Granting interim visas to most students, effective from 7 February 2011. This is one of the changes in the Immigration Act 2009, and allows INZ to grant students interim visas while it process their applications. This is part of a wider interim visa system.
• Extending the validity period for police and medical checks for fee-paying foreign students, effective from early 2011, so that they are required every three years instead of the current two years. This will reduce the number of applicants whose application processing is delayed because they have not provided a medical certificate. This will also save students money.
• Greater profiling of applications, so that lower risk applications are processed faster and staff can devote more time to higher risk applications.
• Recruiting additional staff and seconding staff from other branches to process student visas at peak times.
• Using resources at other INZ branches when applicable.
• Paying closer attention to whether requests for urgency are justified.
• Undertaking a communications programme to advise education providers and students what to expect during the peak periods in terms of processing times.
INZ is encouraging students to:
• Apply for a student visa as soon as their study is confirmed (but no earlier than 60 days before their course starts), so they avoid queues and should have the security of a visa before or early in their studies.
• Apply online if their education provider is accredited with INZ as a Student Online Partner (we guarantee to make an initial assessment of online applications within 48 hours).
• Make sure, whether they apply online or manually, that they provide all the information/documentation required. At present, 30 percent of all manual applications are incomplete, which means processing is delayed while INZ seeks and receives the missing material.
INZ’s aim is to ensure they have the capacity and capability to deal with all applications in a timely manner, particularly at peak processing times. This means continuing to meet their commitment to 48-hour processing of online applications through Students Online Partners and deciding 96 percent of all applications (manual applications included) within 30 days, subject to applicants meeting health, character and other standard requirements.