16 Dec 2011

Immigration agency branch to close

12:00 pm on 16 December 2011

Immigration New Zealand is closing its Auckland Pacific branch and moving all its residency and visa work to Suva, Apia and Nuku'alofa.

Twelve personnel in Auckland are losing their jobs.

Immigration NZ says the branch no longer has enough work and closing it will save almost $3 million over four years.

It says 85% of residency and visa applications come from people in the islands. Regional manager Alan Barry says the change will give them an improved service.

But the Auckland Tongan Advisory Council says the change will also expose Nuku'alofa staff to more offers of gifts and money to approve residency.

Immigration NZ says it has robust systems and it's confident the island offices will cope.

PSA comment

The Public Service Association says immigration work will pick up when the economy recovers

National secretary Richard Wagstaff says Immigration handled the change badly. None of the Auckland employees were offered a chance at four extra jobs created in Apia.