A Complete Guide to Immigration New Zealand - Who is INZ, What Do They Do & How to Contact INZ

Find out everything INZ, who they are and what they do.
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Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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Who is Immigration New Zealand?

What is Immigration New Zealand (INZ)?

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is the government agency responsible for managing immigration to New Zealand. It plays a crucial role in facilitating the entry of individuals who wish to work, visit, study, or live in the country. INZ operates within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and is a key component of New Zealand's broader immigration system, which aims to attract skilled migrants and support the country's economic growth.

What does INZ do?

INZ has four core roles:

  1. Granting Visas: INZ assesses and decides visa applications for various categories, including visitor visas, student visas, work visas, and resident visas. The agency ensures that applicants meet the eligibility criteria and comply with New Zealand's immigration policies.
  2. Border Security: INZ works to ensure that individuals entering and staying in New Zealand are entitled to do so, contributing to the security and integrity of the country's borders. This includes managing the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) and the New Zealand Traveller Declaration.
  3. Migrant Settlement: INZ provides support and resources to help migrants and refugees settle successfully in New Zealand. This includes information on housing, employment, education, and other essential services, facilitating their integration into New Zealand society.
  4. Global Immigration System: INZ collaborates with international partners and border agencies to maintain the integrity of the global immigration system and protect New Zealand from immigration risks. This involves sharing information and best practices with other countries, particularly the Migration 5 nations (Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom).

INZ's Ambition

INZ is committed to providing a trusted, world-class immigration service for all its customers. The agency strives to strike a balance between facilitating the entry of individuals who can contribute to New Zealand and protecting the country from immigration risks. INZ aims to be customer-centric, making it easy for applicants to understand and navigate the visa process while ensuring compliance with immigration regulations. By delivering efficient and effective immigration services, INZ supports New Zealand's economic growth and social cohesion.

The New Zealand Immigration System and Visas

Structure of the New Zealand Immigration System

Immigration New Zealand is the operational arm of the New Zealand immigration system, responsible for processing visa applications and managing border control. It operates under the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which oversees the broader immigration framework. The immigration system also includes MBIE's compliance centre, responsible for investigations and enforcement of immigration laws, ensuring that migrants and visa holders comply with their visa conditions.

Legal Framework

The New Zealand immigration system operates within the legal framework established by the Immigration Act 2009 and its associated regulations. This Act outlines the rules and criteria for granting visas and entry permission to New Zealand. The Minister of Immigration is responsible for making decisions on individual cases and setting the strategic direction of the immigration system, ensuring that it aligns with New Zealand's broader economic and social objectives.

Stakeholders

The New Zealand immigration system involves various stakeholders, including:

  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE): The parent ministry of Immigration New Zealand, responsible for overall immigration policy and strategy, ensuring that the immigration system supports New Zealand's economic growth and social cohesion.
  • Minister of Immigration: The political head of the immigration portfolio, responsible for decision-making and policy direction, ensuring that the immigration system is fair, transparent, and aligned with New Zealand's interests.
  • New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Collaborates with INZ on matters related to immigration and border security, particularly in relation to visa processing at New Zealand's diplomatic posts overseas.
  • Other Border Agencies: Works with INZ to ensure the security and integrity of New Zealand's borders, including Customs, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the New Zealand Police.
  • International Partners: Cooperates with other countries, particularly the Migration 5 countries (Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom), to share information and best practices on immigration matters, enhancing the integrity of the global immigration system.

This collaborative approach ensures that the New Zealand immigration system operates effectively and efficiently, balancing the needs of migrants with the interests of New Zealand, and supporting the country's economic and social development.

The Minister of Immigration

Who is the Minister of Immigration?

The current Minister of Immigration in New Zealand is Hon Erica Stanford. She also holds the position of Minister of Education and has been a Member of Parliament (MP) for East Coast Bays since the 2017 election. Before entering politics, Minister Stanford had a background in political science and Māori studies, and she worked in various roles, including export sales and in the electorate office of a former MP. As Minister of Immigration, she is responsible for overseeing New Zealand's immigration system and ensuring that it supports the country's economic and social objectives.

Responsibilities of the Minister of Immigration

The Minister of Immigration plays a crucial role in shaping New Zealand's immigration policies and regulations. Their responsibilities include:

  • Leading Policy and Strategy: The Minister is responsible for leading the policy and strategic direction of the New Zealand immigration system. This involves setting the overall goals and priorities for immigration and developing policies to achieve them, ensuring that the immigration system supports New Zealand's economic growth and social cohesion.
  • Setting Rules and Criteria: The Minister establishes the rules and criteria for granting visas and entry permission to New Zealand. This includes determining the eligibility requirements for different visa categories and setting quotas for various immigration programs, balancing the needs of migrants with the interests of New Zealanders.
  • Decision-Making: In some cases, the Minister may be involved in making decisions on individual visa applications, particularly in complex or sensitive situations, ensuring that decisions are fair, transparent, and consistent with New Zealand's immigration policies.
  • Oversight of Immigration New Zealand (INZ): The Minister receives operational support from INZ, which is responsible for processing visa applications and managing border control. The Minister ensures that INZ operates effectively and efficiently, delivering high-quality immigration services to migrants and New Zealanders.
  • Immigration Advisers Authority: The Minister has jurisdiction over the Immigration Advisers Authority, which licences and regulates immigration advisers who provide advice to prospective immigrants. The Minister ensures that the Authority maintains high standards of professionalism and integrity in the immigration advice industry.

Past Ministers of Immigration

The position of Minister of Immigration has a long history in New Zealand, dating back to 1872. Many individuals have held this role over the years, each contributing to the development and evolution of New Zealand's immigration policies. Some notable past Ministers of Immigration include:

  • William Fitzherbert: The first Secretary for Crown Lands and Immigration, appointed in 1872, who played a key role in establishing New Zealand's early immigration policies and programs.
  • Maurice O'Rorke: Succeeded Fitzherbert and held the title of Minister of Immigration, further developing New Zealand's immigration system in the late 19th century.
  • Lianne Dalziel: Served as Minister of Immigration from 1999 to 2004, overseeing significant changes to New Zealand's immigration policies, including the introduction of the Skilled Migrant Category.
  • Michael Woodhouse: Held the position from 2013 to 2017, during which time he introduced several changes to New Zealand's immigration policies, including the Parent Visa and Investor Plus Visa categories.

The contributions of these and other past Ministers have shaped New Zealand's current immigration landscape, ensuring that the immigration system continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of New Zealand and its people.

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How to Contact Immigration New Zealand

Contact Information

You can contact Immigration New Zealand through various channels:

  • Phone: INZ has a customer service centre that can be reached by phone from 06:00 to 22:00 Monday to Friday (NZT) excluding New Zealand public holidays.
  • Customer Service Centre (Toll-free from NZ landlines only): 0508 558 855
  • Auckland: +64 9 914 4100
  • Wellington: +64 4 910 9915
  • Rest of the world: +64 9 914 4100
  • Email: You can also contact INZ via email. The email address for general inquiries is available on the INZ website, providing a convenient way to get in touch with the agency.
  • Online: INZ has an online platform where you can submit visa applications, check the status of your application, and find information on various immigration matters. This platform makes it easy for migrants to access immigration services from anywhere in the world.
  • In Person: INZ has several offices throughout New Zealand where you can visit in person for assistance. These offices are located in:
  • Auckland Central
  • Henderson
  • Manukau
  • Hamilton
  • Palmerston North
  • Wellington's Te Aro suburb
  • Porirua
  • Christchurch

These offices provide face-to-face support for migrants and visa applicants, helping them navigate the immigration process and access the services they need.

Visa Application Centres (VACs)

Immigration New Zealand operates Visa Application Centres (VACs) in various locations around the world. These centres provide services such as submission of visa applications, biometrics collection, passport submission, information, and assistance.

INZ has VACs in the following locations:

  • Australia: Sydney
  • China: Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou
  • Fiji: Suva, Lautoka
  • Hong Kong
  • India: New Delhi
  • Indonesia: Jakarta, Bali
  • Iran: Tehran
  • Japan: Tokyo
  • Papua New Guinea: Port Moresby
  • Pakistan: Karachi
  • Philippines: Manila, Cebu
  • Russia: Moscow
  • Samoa: Apia
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands: Honiara
  • South Africa: Pretoria
  • South Korea: Seoul
  • Sri Lanka: Colombo
  • Taiwan: Taipei
  • Thailand: Bangkok
  • Tonga: Nuku'Alofa
  • Turkey: Ankara
  • Ukraine: Kyiv
  • United Arab Emirates: Dubai
  • United Kingdom: London
  • United States of America: Washington DC
  • Vanuatu: Port Vila
  • Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

These VACs make it easier for migrants and visa applicants to access immigration services in their home countries, reducing the need for travel to New Zealand during the visa application process.

Online Services

Immigration New Zealand's online platform offers a range of services to make the immigration process more convenient. You can use the online platform to:

  • Apply for a Visa: Many visa categories allow for online applications, making the process faster and more efficient. This includes visitor visas, student visas, work visas, and resident visas.
  • Check Application Status: You can track the progress of your visa application online and receive updates on its status, keeping you informed throughout the visa application process.
  • Find Information: The INZ website provides comprehensive information on visa requirements, application processes, and settlement support services. This makes it easy for migrants to access the information they need to navigate the immigration process and settle successfully in New Zealand.

By utilising these various contact channels and online services, you can easily get in touch with Immigration New Zealand and access the information and support you need for your immigration journey.

Conclusion about Immigration New Zealand

In conclusion, Immigration New Zealand plays a crucial role in managing immigration to New Zealand and supporting migrants as they settle into the country. By offering a wide range of visas, providing comprehensive information and support services, and maintaining the integrity of New Zealand's borders, INZ ensures that the immigration system continues to benefit both migrants and New Zealanders. If you are considering migrating to New Zealand, it is important to research the visa options available to you, understand the requirements and application process, and seek support from INZ or a licensed immigration adviser. With the right preparation and support, you can successfully navigate the immigration process and build a new life in New Zealand.

Frequently asked questions

You can report an immigration offence to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) by:
  • Calling the INZ Customer Service Centre at 0508 558 855.
  • Emailing the Compliance Investigations team at INZ.ComplianceInvestigations@mbie.govt.nz.
Provide as much information as possible about the offence and your details in case INZ needs to contact you. You can also report offences anonymously using the Crime Stoppers service by calling 0800 555 111 or using their secure online form.
The immigration instructions are contained in the Operational Manual, which includes information about:
  • The rules and criteria that people must meet to be granted a visa.
  • The evidence that people must provide to show they meet the criteria.
  • The processes INZ follows to assess and verify visa applications.
The Operational Manual is available on the INZ website, and changes to the instructions are published in Amendment Circulars.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint to INZ, you can raise concerns with:
  • The Office of the Ombudsman: They can consider complaints about the administrative acts and decisions of state sector agencies.
  • The Office of the Privacy Commissioner: They can investigate whether an organisation's actions have interfered with your privacy under the Privacy Act (2020).
Both offices will ask if you have tried to resolve the matter with INZ directly first.
VisaView is an online system that allows registered New Zealand employers and education providers to check whether a person who is not a New Zealand citizen is allowed to work or study in New Zealand. Employers can also use VisaView to confirm New Zealand passport information provided by jobseekers. To use VisaView, employers and education providers must register and log in with RealMe. Guides and video tutorials are available on the INZ website to help users navigate the system.
To make a complaint about the service provided by a Visa Application Centre, contact VFS Global directly. For complaints about licensed immigration advisers or anyone giving immigration advice unlawfully without a licence, contact the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA). The IAA is responsible for receiving and investigating these complaints.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) offers a wide range of visas tailored to various purposes, including living, working, studying, visiting, investing, and joining family in New Zealand.

Visas for Living in New Zealand

These visas are designed for individuals who intend to reside in New Zealand permanently or for an extended period. Some of the key visas in this category include:
  • Residence Visas: These visas grant the right to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely. Examples include the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa, Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa, and Parent Retirement Resident Visa.
  • Work to Residence Visas: These visas provide a pathway to residence for individuals who have worked in specific sectors or occupations in New Zealand for a certain period. Examples include the Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa and the Long Term Skill Shortage List Resident Visa.
  • Business and Investment Visas: These visas are for entrepreneurs and investors who wish to establish or invest in businesses in New Zealand. Examples include the Entrepreneur Resident Visa and the Investor Plus Visa.

Visas for Working in New Zealand

These visas are for individuals who have secured employment in New Zealand or possess skills in demand in the country. Some of the prominent work visas include:
  • Temporary Work Visas: These visas allow individuals to work in New Zealand for a specific period, usually tied to a particular job offer. Examples include the Essential Skills Work Visa and the Specific Purpose Work Visa.
  • Working Holiday Visas: These visas are for young people who want to experience New Zealand while working and travelling. They are available to citizens of specific countries and have age restrictions.
  • Post-Study Work Visas: These visas allow international students who have completed their studies in New Zealand to work in the country for a certain period.

Visas for Studying in New Zealand

These visas are for individuals who wish to pursue education and training in New Zealand. The main types of student visas include:
  • Fee Paying Student Visa: This visa is for international students who are enrolled in a full-time course of study at an approved education provider in New Zealand.
  • Exchange Student Visa: This visa is for students participating in an approved student exchange program.
  • Pathway Student Visa: This visa allows students to study up to three consecutive courses in New Zealand on a single visa.

Visas for Visiting New Zealand

These visas are for individuals who want to visit New Zealand for tourism, business, or other short-term purposes. The most common visitor visas include:
  • Visitor Visa: This visa is for tourists and visitors who intend to stay in New Zealand for up to six months.
  • Business Visitor Visa: This visa is for individuals who are visiting New Zealand for business-related activities.
  • Transit Visa: This visa is for individuals who are transiting through New Zealand on their way to another country.

Visas for Joining Family in New Zealand

These visas are for individuals who have family members who are New Zealand citizens or residents. Some of the visas in this category include:
  • Partner of a New Zealander Visa: This visa is for partners of New Zealand citizens or residents who wish to live and work in New Zealand.
  • Dependent Child Resident Visa: This visa is for dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents who want to join their parents in New Zealand.
  • Parent Resident Visa: This visa is for parents of adult New Zealand citizens or residents who meet specific financial and sponsorship requirements.
This is just a brief overview of the different types of visas available from Immigration New Zealand. The specific requirements and eligibility criteria for each visa can vary, so it is important to research the visa that best suits your needs and circumstances. You can find detailed information on all visa categories on the INZ website.
The processing time for a visa application can vary depending on several factors, including the type of visa, the complexity of the application, and the volume of applications being processed. INZ aims to process most visa applications within a reasonable timeframe, but delays can occur during peak periods or if the application is incomplete or requires further verification. You can check the estimated processing times for different visa categories on the INZ website.
The specific requirements for obtaining a visa vary depending on the visa category. However, some general requirements that apply to most visas include:
  • Good Health: You may need to undergo a medical examination to demonstrate that you are in good health and do not pose a risk to public health in New Zealand.
  • Good Character: You will need to provide a police certificate to show that you have a clean criminal record and meet the character requirements for New Zealand immigration.
  • Sufficient Funds: You may need to demonstrate that you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay in New Zealand or that you have a sponsor who can provide financial support.
  • Genuine Intention: You must demonstrate that you have a genuine intention to comply with the conditions of your visa and leave New Zealand at the end of your authorised stay.
These requirements help ensure that migrants and visa holders can contribute positively to New Zealand society and do not pose a risk to public health, safety, or security.
If you applied for your visa online, you can check the status of your application through INZ's online platform. You will need to log in to your account and navigate to the "Check application status" section. If you applied for your visa through a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or by post, you can contact the VAC or INZ directly to inquire about the status of your application.
If your visa application is denied, you will receive a letter from INZ explaining the reasons for the decision. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the option to appeal the decision to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal. You can also seek advice from a licensed immigration adviser to explore other visa options or reapply for the same visa with additional documentation or information.
In most cases, visitor visa holders are not allowed to work in New Zealand. However, there are some exceptions, such as if you are attending a conference or event and need to work for a short period. If you are unsure about your work rights on a visitor visa, you should consult with INZ or a licensed immigration adviser.
New Zealand offers a range of support services to help new migrants settle in the country. These services include:
  • Settlement Information: INZ provides information on various aspects of settling in New Zealand, such as housing, employment, education, healthcare, and transportation. This information helps migrants navigate the challenges of starting a new life in a new country.
  • English Language Classes: Free or subsidised English language classes are available to help migrants improve their language skills and integrate into the community. This is particularly important for migrants who are not native English speakers.
  • Employment Support: INZ and other organisations offer employment support services, such as job search assistance, resume writing workshops, and interview skills training. These services help migrants find suitable employment and contribute to New Zealand's economy.
  • Community Support: Various community organisations provide support and resources to help migrants connect with others, learn about New Zealand culture, and access essential services. This includes ethnic community groups, religious organisations, and volunteer networks.
By accessing these support services, new migrants can overcome challenges, build a new life in New Zealand, and contribute to the country's diverse and vibrant society.
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Last modified on 3 July 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

Remember, New Zealand immigration laws and policies change constantly, without warning.

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