In the lead-up to the Phase 2 opening date of 1 March 2022, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have released information to assist applicants with the process.
One of our concerns has been the sheer number of people applying and its corresponding impact on the INZ online system. Many will recall that the platform crashed and prevented applications for several days when Phase 1 commenced on 1 December 2021. This was the cause of significant frustration and uncertainty at the time.
With the implementation of a new enhanced Immigration System for Phase 2, INZ are hoping to have resolved this problem. They state that they should be able to cope with significantly more applications although we do note that it is highly unlikely any ‘testing’ would have involved over 100,000 applicants trying to lodge an application at the same time.
INZ have acknowledged this and have set a maximum number of people who can log in at any one time, meaning when the system reaches this limit, new users will not be able to login and will be advised to try again later.
Order of Processing
All our clients have requested their applications to be submitted on the first day. This is understandable as they wish to get ahead of the queue and increase their chances of a faster outcome. INZ have now advised that there is no advantage to submitting an application on the first day or even in the first few weeks. Importantly, the following will apply to the process:
- The online system will open to applications at 10:00am on 1 March 2022.
- No application will be allocated for assessment to case officers until the end of March 2022.
- At the end of March 2022, applications will be allocated in an order determined by the expiry date of the main applicant’s existing visa and not in the order that they were submitted.
This means that applicants do not need to rush the lodgment of their application. The category closes at the end of July 2022 so there is a good amount of time to prepare and lodge an application. By taking the above approach, INZ have potentially created an even playing field for applicants and at the same time reduced some pressure on themselves and everyone else.
We do, however, understand the frustration many may be feeling if you have only recently obtained a two or three-year visa and are seemingly being disadvantaged for it due to potentially delayed allocation. Note however that this does not necessarily mean you will face unreasonable delay. With this staggered and careful approach, INZ may get through the process quicker, and it is also not unreasonable to expect that this allocation criteria may change in the future.
An aspect of the application process that has always bothered us is INZ’s decision to not charge an application fee upon lodgment. We were worried that in addition to the many eligible applicants who will be applying, INZ will also receive applications from people who clearly do not qualify, as there was no financial deterrent, in the form of an application fee, to prevent this. This would have overloaded the system and caused significant processing delays while INZ rummaged through the mass.
INZ have now confirmed that an upfront application fee will be payable for all Phase 2 applicants payable at the time of lodgment, as is currently the case with online applications. This fee is the same as for Phase 1 applicants, I.e. $2160 including GST.
We take this opportunity to wish all 2021 Resident Visa applicants the very best with the process. Remember that we are here to help and if you get stuck, are unsure of any aspect, or simply want an expert to handle the entire process, we are just a phone call or email away. TODD & WALKER Law’s Immigration law specialist Hetish Lochan has handled a number of applications under this category and is available to assist.
Contact Hetish on [email protected] or 021 075 8147.