Demand for work visas

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 far: 1173

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