A group of tourists from China who intend to begin a one-week tour in New Zealand by January 2, 2019, are yet to receive their visitor visas after having waited for two months.
This delay and that of many others have sparked questions about the competence of New Zealand in handling the inevitable increase in the rate of visa applications for NZ-China Year of Tourism 2019.
Immigration New Zealand — INZ for short — has revealed that it is battling with the increased number of visa applications. Simon Cheung, the Chairman of the New Zealand Chinese Travel Association, said it was apparent that INZ required more staff.
At the moment, INZ is processing about 45,000 temporary visas; 26,000 of which are offshore while 19,000 are onshore applications.
Cheung continued by saying that delays in issuing visas give tourists a negative experience even as the holiday is yet to start. It also does not do good for the reputation of destination New Zealand.
According to him, they expect that the number of Chinese tourists in New Zealand will rise by nothing less than 10 — 20 percent. Cheung said they are working together with the INZ and Customs to see that tourists have a stress-free and seamless arrival and entry experience.
He went further to reveal that over 100,000 Chinese travel to New Zealand every year on group tours. Their visa applications to are usually submitted as a single group. With just one applicant in a group having problems with their application, every member of the group could have delays in the issuance of their visas.
The manager at INZ, Michael Carley, said the agency has high volumes of visa applications to process and that the processing time for visitor visas may be longer.
Incomplete visa requirements can delay an application
At the moment, 75% of visitor visas are approved between 1 — 18 days and Carley is saying that INZ cannot progress visa applications that do not have the complete required information or which do not have translations supporting them.
He added that INZ could not give priority to visa applications even if their applicants have already bought their travel tickets.
Applicants are advised to make their applications online via the INZ website.
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