Multiple current and former Immigration New Zealand (INZ) employees have come forward with concerns about the country's visa processing system. They report a series of problematic practices designed to expedite visa approvals, including ignoring criminal records, not reviewing supporting documents in visa applications, and taking a "light touch" approach to work visas at the border.
INZ staff also raised concerns about the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme, describing it as flawed and manipulated by bad actors within the system.
Key Issues Raised by INZ Staff:
Acting head of immigration Catriona Robinson denied specific instructions to disregard criminal records or avoid reviewing visa attachments. She emphasized that character waivers would be considered for individuals with criminal records on a case-by-case basis.
Robinson also defended the "streamlined" approach for low-risk visitor visa applications, suggesting that certain standard checks could eliminate the need to examine attachments.
Regarding border staff, Robinson stated that their primary role was not to re-assess visa applications but to facilitate entry for individuals with legitimate visas, unless new information came to light.
Despite the allegations, Robinson encouraged individuals to provide specific details for further investigation and assured that staff were encouraged to report any concerns.