The number of work visa applications received by Immigration
New Zealand's Queenstown office has risen steadily since 2012
and this year is no exception.
Assistant general manager of visa services Peter Elms said
Queenstown's visa office now had five staff and during busy
periods, such as the two distinct times before the resort's
ski season and summer, Immigration's staff in Christchurch
and Dunedin helped process Queenstown visas when needed.
Twelve-month work visas are typically the most popular, with
visa holders working in ''very specific'' jobs.
Employers must prove they cannot find a suitable New
Zealander to fill the role and when asked whether processing
so many visitor visas was acceptable when there were
unemployed New Zealanders, Mr Elms said, ''Yes.''
Reasons for this were the seasonal nature of the work, the
high cost of living and the low unemployment rate.
Mr Elms said he expected it would take up to three weeks to
process a visa, but ''when we get large spikes the processing
times could be increased''.
''This year, we have seen higher than average volumes of
visas being decided in Queenstown.''
This could be because of the growth of the tourism sector,
the attractiveness of Queenstown, the New Zealand economy and
the lack of New Zealanders to fill the positions, he said.
Mr Elms was satisfied with the processes employers had to
use, such as advertising the vacant position before they
could employ a overseas worker.
Temporary work applications approved or declined by
Immigration New Zealand's Queenstown office:
• 2010: 4105 approved. 97 declined. Total: 4202
• 2011: 3584 approved. 107 declined. Total: 3691
• 2012: 3010 approved. 141 declined. Total: 3151
• 2013: 3529 approved. 129 declined. Total: 3658
• 2014 (to date): 1130 approved. 43 declined. Total so