6 July 2020
Junlong Wang [FYI request #12997 email]
Ref: DOIA 1920-1738
Dear Mr Wang
Thank you for your email of 2 June 2020 to the Minister of Immigration. Your request was transferred to
the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (the Ministry) requesting on 9 June 2020, under the
Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), the following information: 1. I would like to request information about how INZ allocates the non-prioritised Skil ed Migrant
resident-visa-applications/smc-and-rfw-timeframe-information Referring to the link above,
"Applications that don’t meet either criterion for prioritisation are allocated to an immigration officer
in the order they are received", but I have known a number of cases where the applications lodged
later are allocated to Case Officer before those lodged earlier? Specifically, some cases lodged in Mar
2019 get allocated around Sep 2019, and some lodged in Nov 2019 get allocated in early 2020, etc.
They all don't match the priority criteria and have NO special circumstances.
2. Could you please explain why INZ doesn't fol ow the order of lodgement in some cases?
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) does not have a specific Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) queue but one
for skilled residence applications. These applications are SMC and Resident from Work (RFW) and are all
processed in Manukau office. The applications are not split into two separate queues based on the
application category. All applications are separated into the stated priorities as per Immigration
Instructions A16.1. The type of application (SMC vs RFW) is not relevant to the prioritisation.
Immigration Instructions A16.1 sets out the order of visa processing for both residence and temporary
entry class visa applications.
For those applicants who have submitted a skilled residence application SMC) or RFW), priority is given
to applicants in New Zealand and where the:
• Application includes a job offer with an hourly rate equivalent to or higher than twice the median
wage (currently $51.00 per hour or an annual salary of $106,080 or more); or
• Application includes a job offer which requires occupational registration where occupational
registration is required by immigration instructions.
Second Priority will be given to residence class visa applications where the applicant is offshore.
Applications are processed in date order of lodgement. However, A16.1 (f) does allow the allocation of
other applications when individual circumstances warrant this. This includes applications returned by the
Immigration Protection Tribunal (IPT) for re-assessment, applications requiring reassignment due to staff
movement, and those escalated through the Employment Visa Escalation (EVE) process. Information
about the EVE process can be found at the fol owing link www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-
Allocations of both priority and non priority applications occur weekly and the number of applications
that are al ocated is dependent upon processing capacity and the New Zealand Residence Programme
(NZRP). The Government is currently reviewing its approach to the NZRP and is considering replacing the
planning range with a more targeted approach that focuses on management of specific residence visa
types. In the meantime, INZ will continue to process applications at same volume and with the same level
of resourcing as the previous NZRP allowed for.
Any updates in regards to the allocation of applications can be found at the following
I cannot comment on the specific cases referenced in your request. However, as advised in our response
to your previous OIA request dated 10 March 2020, an individual can make a request for urgent allocation
of their employment based visa via the EVE process. The criteria includes compelling personal
circumstances, humanitarian factors and matters of national interest. These requests are assessed on a
case by case basis and no situation is similar or can be compared to another.
I trust you find the information helpful.
If you wish to discuss any aspect of your request or this response, or if you require any further assistance,
please contact Penny Hazlett, Senior Business Advisor [email address].
General Manager – Border and Visa Operations
Immigration New Zealand
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment