5 Sep 2021

Immigration New Zealand shuts its Beijing office

10:59 am on 5 September 2021

Visa processing at what used to be New Zealand's largest immigration centre has closed.

Residence visa application form

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Before the pandemic, the Beijing office decided half of all temporary visas - about 10,000 a week.

Withdrawing visa processing from China ends a long programme of overseas office closures, including in India, South Africa and the Philippines in March.

The only Immigration New Zealand offices that now process visas abroad are those in the Pacific.

Immigration New Zealand says most staff have been able to work remotely during lockdown on online visas, including work visas since Tuesday.

But waiting times for paper applications, such as residence and variations of conditions, have been affected.

Staff decided 82,000 visas last summer, compared to 200,000 in the summer before the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs