New Zealand issues timeline for resumption of visa processing

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Many South African families have been forced to live apart for up to a year now as a result of New Zealand’s extended border closure and the halting of its visa issuing processes.

There is however good news on the horizon for South Africans who have been desperately trying to get to New Zealand.  The country’s immigration department has revealed a timeline for the expected dates of its visa processing restart.

For several years, New Zealand was one of only a few countries that South Africans were able to travel to with visa-free access. The New Zealand government ended visa-free entry to South African nationals when it implemented a visa regime for South Africans in January 2017. 

Since then, South Africans have been required to obtain visitor visas prior to travelling to the “Land of the Long White Cloud”.

CLOSURE OF SA VISA PROCESSING CENTRE

New Zealand’s borders have been closed since March 2020 in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 infections in the country by prohibiting entry to individuals from outside of its borders.

While New Zealand has not been receiving visitors or issuing visas, it came to the attention of Immigration New Zealand that visa processing could be done in New Zealand. To save costs, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) decided to close its visa processing centres in three locations: South Africa, India and the Philippines.

RESTART OF NEW ZEALAND VISA PROCESSING

  • Visitor visas from July 2021;
  • Student and partnership temporary visas from October 2021; and
  • All resident class visas within 12 to 18 months.

PRESSURE TO PRIORITISE SPLIT FAMILIES

There has also been talk of pressure on the New Zealand government to allow entry to families who have been separated for lengthy periods of time due to New Zealand’s border closure and the halting of visa issuing.   

It is believed that priority will be given to those whose visas had been approved when the country shut its borders, where a partner or parent is already living in New Zealand. Next in line will be those who did not have visas when the border closed, but who have a partner or parent in New Zealand.

The South African previously stated that Imagine Immigration said that visa applications would restart. However, New Zealand would only be launching new visa processing software. We regret the mistake and any inconvenience it may have caused.

ALSO READ: South African immigrant’s emotional plea to be reunited with family

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Original Article Posted on The South African