Immigration New Zealand is contemplating to bring many of its offshore visa processing offices back to New Zealand.
According to a report published in New Zealand Herald on Monday, September 18, Immigration New Zealand is planning to shut down offices at Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bangkok, New Delhi, Pretoria, Moscow and Shanghai.
Processing will also cease in four other offices - Manila, Washington DC, London and Dubai.
According to Herald report just two overseas offices, Mumbai and Beijing, will be kept open and retain their visa-processing capacity.
Currently, according to Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) website, the visa application offices outside New Zealand are spread across 27 countries.
The report in New Zealand Herald claims that this decision has come down after Herald has previously reported last month that the agency was paying its overseas officers as little as $4 an hour and much of the visa processing was being done in countries such as Thailand and India.
However, the report does not states if visa processing in these overseas offices in Thailand and India were processing visas of the individual country markets (Thailand and India respectively) or were catering to the visa processing needs of other country markets.
As per Steve Stuart, INZ general manager, quoted in the Herald report, this decision of closing down overseas visa processing offices are more an outcome of "significant investment" in the agency's technology platforms and the increasing popularity of online visa applications.
"Mumbai and Beijing ... are proposed to remain to reflect the high volume of student and visitor visa applications made in those markets and for business continuity reasons,” Mr Stuart said.
The agency also plans to significantly reduce the number of public service counters here, closing both its Auckland Central and Henderson offices.
The decision is expected by the end of the year.