28 April 2021
[FYI request #15001 email]
Ref: DOIA 2021-1907
Dear A Singh,
Thank you for your email of 26 March 2021 requesting under the Official Information Act 1982 (the OIA),
the following information:
“Under Official Information Act, may I please request the fol owing information from INZ -
From 1st January 2021 and when you reply to this request, please provide fol owing data
after each allocation of SMC and RFW application in the onshore non-priority and priority
1. How many SMC and RFW onshore non-priority and priority applications were allocated
in each allocation cycle, separate data for priority and non-priority applications?
2. How many applications were in the unallocated SMC and RFW onshore non-priority and
priority queue before and after each allocation cycle, separate data for priority and non-
(Sounds like simple math, but numbers from previous OIA responses do not add up. So
please provide this data for better clarity)
3. What was the date of oldest unallocated application in SMC and RFW onshore non-
priority and priority queue before and after each allocation cycle, separate data for
priority and non-priority applications?”
As you may be aware, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has one queue for skilled residence applications. The
applications in this queue include Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Resident from Work (RFW), and are
not split into two separate queues based on the application category.
Part One: “How many SMC and RFW onshore non-priority and priority applications were allocated in
each al ocation cycle, separate data for priority and non-priority applications?”
Please see table one below which provides the number of skilled residence applications that were
al ocated from the onshore non priority and priority queues, between the periods 04 January 2021 to 26
Please note that allocations of applications to immigration officers occur weekly and the number of
applications that are allocated is dependent upon processing capacity. The Government is currently
reviewing its approach to the New Zealand Residence Programme (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 wil continue to process applications at the same volume and with the same level of
resourcing as the previous NZRP allowed for. This has an impact on the number of applications that can be
allocated and the timeliness of application processing.
Also note that in February 2021, the Auckland region moved into Alert Level 3 twice which had an impact
on the processing of skilled residence applications, and the capacity for immigration officers to be allocated
new applications. With reduced processing capacity and reduced ability for some staff to access INZ offices
during the COVID-19 response, for several weeks the INZ Manukau office had limited numbers of staff
processing skilled residence applications from the office and reduced productivity for those working from
Part Two: “How many applications were in the unal ocated SMC and RFW onshore non-priority and
priority queue before and after each allocation cycle, separate data for priority and non-priority
Information on how many unallocated skilled residence applications were in the onshore non priority and
priority queue after each allocation cycle, is not held in a reportable format. INZ can only retrieve the
number of applications in the queues as at the current date.
Please see table two below which provides the total number of unallocated skilled residence applications
in the onshore and offshore queues as at 15 April 2021, broken down by application type.
Part Three: “What was the date of oldest unallocated application in SMC and RFW onshore non-priority
and priority queue before and after each al ocation cycle, separate data for priority and non-priority
Information on the oldest unal ocated application in the onshore non priority and priority queue before
and after each allocation cycle, is not held in a reportable format. INZ can only retrieve this information for
applications currently in the queues.
As at 27 April 2021, the oldest application in the skilled residence onshore non-priority queue pending
al ocation was accepted for processing by INZ on 06 August 2019, and the oldest application in the priority
queue was accepted on 28 August 2019. This is the date that all information required for the acceptance of
the application was actual y received by INZ rather than the date the data entry was completed.
Most data used in OIA responses is pul ed directly from the INZ Application Management System (AMS),
and reflects the date that the data entry relating to the application was completed in AMS. On occasion an
application is received by INZ on one date, but the data entry is not complete until a later date. In the
interest of fairness, when allocating applications the Manukau office use the date that all information
required for the acceptance of the application was actually received by INZ rather than the date the data
entry was completed – which reflects when a client will perceive their application to have been submitted.
This means that there may be differences noted in the allocation data, which is sourced directly from the
Manukau office, when compared with other statistics about skil ed residence, including number and dates
of applications in the queues.
Please note that the skil ed residence queue data is not static due to the complex nature of visa processing
operations. Applications move between queues and this needs to be taken into account when comparing
data over time. The data changes over time for reasons such as, but not limited to:
• Applicants arriving into New Zealand on critical purpose visas result in their applications moving
from the offshore queue to one of the onshore queues;
• A change in an applicant’s circumstances resulting in their application meeting the priority criteria
and being moved to the priority queue;
• Applications being escalated via the Employment Visa Escalation (EVE) process -
• Applications selected to be used in training new Immigration Officers.
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 [email address].
General Manager - Border and Visa Operations
Immigration New Zealand