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New Zealand to move to ‘paperless’ visa system

The New Zealand visa application system will move online later this year, with paper applications phased out as part of an effort to digitalise the entire system, says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

The new system, which has been in development for 18 months now and was predicted to be complete by 2017, is part of an NZ$80 million (£41.5 million) infrastructure development designed to crack down on potential abuses of the system.

Mr Woodhouse said the new Immigration Global Management System (IGMS) was on track to be completed by 2015 with some New Zealand visa options to be moved solely online by the end of this year.

The minister said several Immigration New Zealand (INZ) branch offices would be closed as the system’s automation improves while others would be replaced with ‘visa acceptance centres’.

The new immigration system was first proposed in 2007 after an investigation revealed a member of staff in a Bangkok-based INZ branch had been using his position to steal thousands of dollars from Cambodian visa applicants four years earlier.

Mr Woodhouse said the new system would remove opportunities for applications to be mishandled.


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