No INZ re­view date set yet

Visa is­su­ing con­cerns raised

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JOHN EDENS

An em­ploy­ers’ ad­vo­cate says the Govern­ment has given an as­sur­ance to con­sult the busi­ness com­mu­nity be­fore de­cid­ing the fu­ture of Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand’s (INZ) Queen­stown branch.

Last year, the Govern­ment an­nounced a re­view of branches and pro­pos­als to cen­tralise ser­vices, re­lo­cate cen­tres and im­prove tech­nol­ogy.

Queen­stown was one branch ear­marked for a re­view, which led to con­cern among em­ploy­ers be­cause the re­sort and parts of Cen­tral Otago rely on fast pro­cess­ing times for mi­grant visas and tem­po­rary work­ers.

In­de­pen­dent em­ploy­ers’ ad­vo­cate Don Rhodes, of Omakau, said mem­bers were con­cerned about po­ten­tial de­lays when pro­cess­ing tem­po­rary visas for people work­ing in tourism, hos­pi­tal­ity, viti­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture.

‘‘I have spo­ken di­rectly with the min­is­ter, he as­sured me when they get to the stage where they are look­ing at mov­ing they’ll come back to the Cen­tral Otago com­mu­nity for in­put.

An Im­mi­gra­tion spokes­woman said a re­view of the Queen­stown branch had not been done yet.

Asked whether the branch po­ten­tially faced clo­sure, she said the out­come of a re­view could in­clude clo­sure but it would also con­sider whether an Im­mi­gra­tion pres­ence was nec­es­sary in Queen­stown.

‘‘Im­mi­gra­tion may de­cide to re­tain the of­fice or re­tain a pres­ence in Queen­stown. This would mean that while no visa pro­cess­ing would oc­cur at this lo­ca­tion an em­ployee may be present to man­age Im­mi­gra­tion risk, at­trac­tion or re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment re­quire­ments.’’

The Govern­ment plans to in­tro­duce elec­tronic visa pro­cess­ing, Im­mi­gra­tion On­line, which would let people lodge ap­pli­ca­tions for tem­po­rary visas with­out vis­it­ing an of­fice.

She said there was no time­frame for the re­view but last year the Otago South­land Em­ploy­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion said they were told a re­view was ex­pected by the end of this year.

Rhodes said Queen­stown em­ploy­ers val­ued a trusted part­ner­ship scheme with Im­mi­gra­tion, a fast-track­ing sys­tem for businesses with a high turnover of ca­sual or mi­grant staff.

The Queen­stown INZ branch at Re­mark­ables Park has eight staff.

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