Updated residence priority rules
New Zealand Immigration Update: March 2020
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have received large volumes of residence applications over the last 18 months, which has resulted in increasing processing times.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have received large volumes of residence applications over the last 18 months, which has resulted in increasing processing times. As an example, it is currently taking up to 15 months to process an application made under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC).
Previously, Residence from Work (RFW) applications were prioritised over applications made under the SMC. Going forward, INZ will no longer prioritise RFW applications.
From 24 February 2020, applications under both RFW and SMC will only be prioritised where an applicant:
Requires professional registration e.g. Medical Doctors; or
Earns at least twice the New Zealand median wage, (currently $51 per hour, or $106,080 a year).
The remaining SMC and RFW applications will be allocated to an Immigration Officer in the date order that they are received by INZ.
This is a significant update for individuals looking to apply under the RFW category. Increased RFW processing times will likely mean temporary entry visas will need to be renewed while waiting for a decision on the residence application.
If your employee is applying for a RFW visa, we recommend preparing an application package promptly, so that it can be submitted as soon as the individual is eligible to apply.
Employees should also be advised that they may need to renew their temporary work visas, due to extended RFW processing times.
Please get in touch with one of our experts today.
Immigration – Law Clerk
+64 3 339 5636