New Zealand to close down visa services in Pretoria, move to online only

2017-12-13 11:44 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will be closing down its Pretoria office, along with 14 other offshore offices, come April 2018. 

The agency currently has about 560 overseas offices, but visa processing in Bangkok, Manila, Washington DC, Pretoria, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh, London, Manila, Hong Kong, Jakarta, New Delhi, Moscow, Shanghai as well as two offices in New Zealand will be closed. INZ will however maintain a presence in the mentioned regions to gather market intelligence, manage risk and carry out verification activities.

INZ encourages applicants to access the services they need through the online website or to contact the Immigration Contact Centre. Applications for residence visas, which are not currently supported online, can be posted.

SEE: New Zealand launches visa info campaign as travel agents warned 'not to risk unlawful immigration advice'

The plans for closing down the offices were confirmed in October after, according to NZHerald, the agency revealed that it was paying its overseas officers as little as $4 (about R37, 90 at R9,84/NZ$) an hour and much of the visa processing was being done in countries such as Thailand and India.

Just two overseas offices, Mumbai and Beijing, will be kept open and retain visa-processing capacity.

INZ general manager Steve Stuart says the closing down of overseas offices "will create 110 extra jobs in New Zealand over the next three years by moving more visa processing onshore". 

While the move is expected only in April, travellers hope that the last computer fault saga that happened at the Immigration does not happen again. 

ALSO  SEE: New Zealand rugby player sent home due to 'clerical visa error'

In August, NZherald reported that thousands of applicants for temporary visas were unable to lodge their applications online because of an immigration computer fault.

New travel regulations for both South African and New Zealand travellers came into effect in November 2016, with South African visitors to New Zealand now requiring a visitor visa.

Shortly after, in a move labelled by the Department of Home Affairs as 'reciprocity', SA changed its visa regulations for Kiwi visitors, who now also need visas to enter SA. 

NOTE: The immigration contact centre can be contacted at 0508 558 855 (NZ landline only) or on +64 9 914 4100 (overseas or mobile).

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