April 12, 2021

INZ changes process of prioritising resident visa applications

Changes “to ensure non-priority applications continue to be assessed”

By: Gurbir Singh

Immigration NZ is making changes to the prioritised allocation of Skilled Migrant Category(SMC) and Residence from Work (RFW) Category applications.

As a result, applicants for Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visas will not be given any priority.

These changes are “to ensure non-priority applications continue to be assessed”, and to “make the prioritisation process more transparent.”

In an announcement made yesterday, INZ says: “We will continue to prioritise people with occupational registration and those earning twice the median wage (currently NZD $51 an hour and NZD $106,080 a year). However, applicants for Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visas will no longer be prioritised unless they are either highly paid, or in an occupation requiring registration.”


Whether this small measure of removing priority for Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visas will reduce the backlog? NewsViews poses this & other related questions to the Minister of Immigration. Read his responses in detail here tomorrow.


The priority queue will be a smaller proportion of total applications on hand and INZ will be able to resume allocating applications from the general queue in the date order in which they were received. Allocation is when an application is given to an immigration officer to assess.

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INZ acknowledges that increased wait times for allocation are an unavoidable consequence of increasing volumes of resident visa applications, but is confident that these changes will benefit more applicants.

The demand for applications under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Residence from Work (RFW) Category has risen significantly over the past 18 months, resulting in an increase in processing times. This has led to people expressing their resentment and voicing their frustration on social media as well as organising protests.

Whether this small measure of removing priority for Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visas will reduce the backlog or uncertainty, only time will tell.