Reducing the processing time for Citizenship applications

mohamed zakaria mohamed abdelhamid made this Official Information request to Department of Internal Affairs

The request was successful.

From: mohamed zakaria mohamed abdelhamid

Dear Department of Internal Affairs,

As per the latest updated application numbers announced on the link below

it seems that the processing of the application is not considering a fairer first come first served bases. and the processing is favoring the system automated checks to show a good enhancement in the number while net processing time is not enhanced and kept to 15 months still.

Could you please explain how are you going to recover the situation by reducing the net processing time rather than processing specific applications to reduce the net backlog only?

Yours faithfully,

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From: OIA
Department of Internal Affairs

Tçnâ koe Mohamed,

Thank you for your OIA request to the Department of Internal Affairs (included with this email)

The Department will provide its response to your request as soon as practicable and within twenty working days.  The 20th working day is 7 July 2022

Please note that in cases where the Department’s response provides information that is identified to be of general public interest, the response may also be published on the Department of Internal Affairs website.  If the Department publishes its response to your OIA request, all personal information, including your name and contact details, will be removed.

Nâku, nâ

Michelle Reed (she/her)  
Kaitohutohu Ârahi, te Ture Pârongo Ôkawa | Lead Advisor Official Correspondence 
Te Urûngi | Organisational Strategy & Performance
Level 6, 45 Pipitea St | PO Box 805, Wellington 6140, New Zealand |

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From: Rachel Prosser
Department of Internal Affairs

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Dear Mr Mohamed Zakaria Mohamed Abdelhamid


Thank you for your email of 8 June 2022 asking for information about the
Department’s approach to processing applications for citizenship by grant.
We are responding to your request as a business inquiry.


You have raised a concern that applications are not considered on a ‘first
come first served’ base, and are concerned that our use of automated
checks may not have led to the longest processing times coming down.


I can advise that the majority of officers processing citizenship by grant
applications are still working on the earliest-submitted applications


In an effort to reduce the backlog of New Zealand citizenship by grant
applications, we have moved to assessing applications using more automated
checks. These automated checks include matching the information the
applicant supplies with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) records. We can then
use the INZ information to confirm an applicant’s eligibility, including
automatically calculating whether they meet the presence requirement.


This means that some applicants can now be processed much more quickly
than others, as they require fewer checks to be made by an officer, or are
simpler to process and can be worked on by officers who are more recently


Where applications are identified using automated checks for a streamlined
processing, all applications are grouped, and then processed based on the
date they were received  .


The exception to this is where an applicant is approved for urgent
processing, which are processed immediately.  The information on the
criteria we apply to these is linked on the webpage.  


You have also asked what we have in place to reduce the overall processing
time, rather than just the net backlog.


The average time to process applications is now decreasing. This is a
result of a range of factors including

o Recruitment and training of additional officers.
o Increased use of our system’s automated capabilities to identify
applications which require less input from an officer
o Review of our processes and policies, to identify where we can reduce
the number of times officers need to contact applicants, and where we
can rely on information provided by Immigration New Zealand. 


We appreciate that it is frustrating for applicants to wait, and can
assure you that reducing waiting times is a high priority for the
Department.  We expect that the work underway will continue to reduce not
only the backlog of applications awaiting allocation to an officer, but
also the longest time applicants wait before their application is


Best wishes


Rachel Prosser | Principal Advisor | Kaitohutohu Mâtâmua

Service Delivery and Operations Branch: Kâwai ki te Iwi

The Department of Internal Affairs: Te Tari Taiwhenua   


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