The Immigration Minister has told The Indian Weekender that he is getting a “weekly report” directly from Chief Executive Officer of Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and Immigration New Zealand around the progression of partnership visa issues.
In an exclusive interview at The Indian Weekender studio this morning, the Minister said that he was taking a personal interest in ensuring that Immigration New Zealand is acting in an expedite manner on the long-pending queues of partnership visa applications.
However, on being probed if the Minister was getting the weekly report on the actual number of visa applications being cleared by INZ officials, particularly from the Mumbai Office, Mr Lees-Galloway clarified that he was getting report only on the progress of allocation of case officers and not on the actual number of applications being processed.
“The main metric that I am focussing on at the moment is the allocation of case officers to partnership visa applications,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.
“It is based on the main feedback that I am getting from everywhere in the community that my application has been sitting in the queue and it has yet not been allocated to a case officer,” Mr Lees-Galloway reiterated.
The Minister when reminded that since early September when he had last spoken publically about this unhappiness with INZ’s speed in visa processing times, it has already been more than two months without any notable improvement, the Minister said, “A lot has happened in that time.
“It was in May this year that I reached the point of the frustration of writing formerly to the Chief Executive of MBIE that there needs to be a much closer focus on improving the visa-processing times.
“Since that point, INZ has been reporting me literally on a weekly basis,” Mr Lees Galloway said.
The Minister also told the Indian Weekender that in his weekly updates from top INZ officials he was briefed about actions on Essential skill work visas and student visas application delays, which have improved remarkably.
“On a weekly basis, they are telling me what they are doing to improve things and what effect it is having.”
The Minister also confirmed that he was not getting any update on a weekly basis from INZ’s Mumbai offices but rather from Wellington-based CEO of MBIE and Head of INZ.
Mr Lees-Galloway was speaking with The Indian Weekender on Tuesday, November 26 on a range of issues around partnership visas and the newly announced culturally arranged marriage visas.