New Zealand issues timeline for resumption of visa processing Immigration New Zealand has outlined the way forward for the restart of its visa processing services.

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”.
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, the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) decided to close its visa processing centres in three locations: South Africa, India and the Philippines.
According to Imagine Immigration, a migration company specialising in migration assistance to Australia and New Zealand, senior officials at Immigration New Zealand have outlined the following timeframe for the resumption of 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.
Imagine Immigration also stated that there is 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.

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