New Zealand hits a record number of visa applications in 2023


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Immigration New Zealand has highlighted the key achievements of 2023, including reaching the milestone of 1 million visa decisions being made for migrants and students.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is celebrating a number of achievements from 2023, including reaching the milestone of 1 million visa decisions being made.

The year 2023 was another big and challenging year for Immigration New Zealand and the immigration system. It was the first full year of open borders since 2019, and a lot was achieved along the way.

Key statistics

  • More than 1 million visa decisions were made.
  • There were more than 11.5 million movements at the New Zealand border.
  • Over 3 million viewers watched kaimahi on Border Patrol.
  • Over 150 mass emails sent, totalling nearly 3 million emails to customers and stakeholders, as well as 5 international marketing campaigns reaching people in 38 countries.
  • More than 519,400 visitor visa applications were submitted and 81% were approved.
  • More than 1.4 million NZeTA were submitted and 99.89% were approved.
  • 15,749 employers became accredited under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) policy.
  • Approximately 2.2 million manual identity comparisons were completed.
  • Almost 2,000 AEWV post-accreditation checks were completed.
  • More than 79,000 AEWV applications were submitted and 88% were approved.
  • 46,703 working holiday applications were submitted and 95% were approved. There were also 2,344 working holiday extensions applications approved.
  • 99% of 2021 Resident Visa applications were decided — with the goal of 80% processed being reached 3 months ahead of schedule.
  • 90,067 student visas were decided — 75% of these were approved.
  • More than 18,400 Recognised Seasonal Employer applications were approved.
  • 1,507 Quota refugees were resettled in New Zealand.
  • 567 people were resettled under the Refugee Family Support Category and 33 refugees under the Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship pilot.
  • More than 40 amendment circulars have been distributed.

There was unprecedented demand for visitor visas, with the record of applications submitted being broken over a number of months. New Zealand introduced new visas, including the:

  • Recovery Visa to support the country’s clean up after the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle, and the
  • Skilled Migrant Category to support New Zealand’s workforce.

Working Holiday Visa: Young Brits aged 18-35 can now work in New Zealand for up to 3 years

INZ saw the biggest demand for visitor visas, with the record number of applications submitted being broken on a number of months throughout the year. In total, 519,417 visitor visa applications were received with the number approved sitting at 81%.

A busy year of processing also meant an equally busy time at NZ border. There were over 11.5 million border movements and 1.4 million New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) requests submitted with 99.89% approved.

INZ Chief Operating Officer Stephen Vaughan says the results are a sign of the dedicated work of INZ staff.

“Our people were busy navigating the first full year of borders being open since 2019 and managed to exceed all expectations with this milestone number of visa decisions,” says Immigration New Zealand Operating Officer Stephen Vaughan.

“This is a huge credit to the commitment of our people, and their ability to work cohesively with other government agencies like Customs to keep our borders flowing”, says Immigration New Zealand Operating Officer Stephen Vaughan.

Another major highlight was the number of people New Zealand welcomed into the country through the Refugee Quota Programme, with 1,507 refugees now calling Aotearoa New Zealand home.

“We are immensely proud of our team who work so hard to welcome, resettle and support these refugees into New Zealand”.

The compliance and investigations function of the immigration system also achieved 10 successful convictions in 2023.

“We are working hard to protect those who come to work and live in New Zealand and this result shows our investigations processes are working to ensure justice against those who are not complying with immigration law,” Mr Vaughan says.

“We are feeling focused and positive for the year ahead in 2024, building on the successes of last year and continuing to build our systems and processes to support people that come to work, live and study in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Source: © Crown Copyright 2024 (1) | © Crown Copyright 2024 (2)

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