Immigration New Zealand has been warned against the closure of immigration public counters by lawyers and immigration advisors. There will be more immigrants landing up overstaying if all public counters are closed they have cautioned. INZ is planning that people apply for visas online.
Doubts have been raised over the presence of required technology to cope up with the need. The Minister for Pacific Peoples has also demanded that the decision must be reviewed. On the other hand, INZ said that appointment can still be obtained by an immigration officer. Paper applications can still be filed with them it added, as quoted by the Radionz Co NZ.
Since early 2016, immigration public counters have been closed in Manukau and Henderson by INZ. Palmerston North and Hamilton counters have also been closed. In the next ten days, the office at Wellington will also be shut. By 21st December the public counter at Christchurch will also be closed. The remaining immigration public counter at Auckland Queen Street will be shut down by 2018 June.
Immigration New Zealand said that public counters are used by people to obtain forms. Applications are also submitted here and the progress of applications is tracked through these counters. INZ explained that it now wants people to apply online or get in touch with the call centers for assistance.
An immigration lawyer in Wellington said that this is not feasible for vulnerable groups such as Pacifica people. The sponsors assisting these people do not have the time to scan through every minute detail in the application he added. The closure of office at Manukau in July resulted in delays. Thus some people were classified as overstayed, explained the lawyer.
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