22 February 2021
[FYI request #14520 email]
Ref: DOIA 2021-1344
Dear Seenivasan Ramasubbu,
Thank you for your email of 24 January 2021 requesting under the Official Information Act 1982 (the
OIA), the following information:
“1) The number of offshore SMC applications (month-wise breakup) currently is on the
system for processing?
2) When wil be the offshore SMC application wil be start processing? or
3) If it depends on border opening, then Is there an option to process the application based
on the ANZSCO code linked with Major government programs? For instance, 133111
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER can be processed for current urgent Major
Government Construction programs?
3) Is priority & non-priority status applicable to offshore SMC application?”
Question 1: “The number of offshore SMC applications (month-wise breakup) currently is on the
system for processing?”
Processing of applications where individuals are outside New Zealand has largely been put on hold.
Under section 43(1)(b) of the Immigration Act 2009, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is unable to grant a
visa to any individual who is unlikely to meet entry requirements to New Zealand. With the current
border restrictions in place, almost all applications for entry permission must be refused.
Table One below provides the number of Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) applications on hand as at 2
February 2021 in the offshore non priority queue that have not yet been allocated, broken down by the
month the application was accepted. These applications will remain on hold.
Question 2 & 3: “2) When wil be the offshore SMC application wil be start processing? or
3) If it depends on border opening, then Is there an option to process the application based on the
ANZSCO code linked with Major government programs? For instance, 133111 CONSTRUCTION
PROJECT MANAGER can be processed for current urgent Major Government Construction programs?
As of 16 September 2020, INZ has been processing and deciding offshore applications for some
relationship-based visas, if they are supported by a New Zealand citizen or resident. The processing of all
other offshore applications remains on hold. This is because while New Zealand’s border is closed, INZ
cannot legally grant a visa to an applicant who is currently offshore, unless they are either exempt from
the border restrictions or have been granted a border exception.
No decisions have been made on when the border restrictions wil be lifted or when processing of all other
offshore applications will commence. The Government, in the meantime, continues to review the way our
borders are managed.
The best place to find updated information is the INZ website which is being updated regularly as decisions
are being made: www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19.
Question 3: “Is priority & non-priority status applicable to offshore SMC application?”
INZ does not have a specific SMC queue but one for skil ed residence applications. These applications
are SMC and Resident from Work (RFW), and are not split into two separate queues based on the
The SMC and RFW category applications will be prioritised for allocation to an immigration officer if the
principal applicant is in New Zealand and:
• is paid twice the median wage or higher (currently NZD $51 an hour or NZD $106,080 a year), or
• works in an occupation where registration is required by immigration instructions and holds that
Applications that don’t meet either criterion for prioritisation are allocated to an immigration officer in
the order they are received if the principle applicant is in New Zealand. If the principal applicant is
outside of New Zealand their application will remain in the offshore non priority queue.
Any updates in regards to the allocation of applications can be found via the following link:
If you wish to discuss any aspect of your request or this response, please contact Lautalie Leausa Vaa,
Senior Business Advisor, Operations Support, Immigration New Zealand at
Acting General Manager - Border and Visa Operations
Immigration New Zealand