16 Jun 2013

Minister defends closing immigration offices

10:48 am on 16 June 2013

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has defended the decision to close immigration offices in Dunedin and Sydney.

Mr Woodhouse has told Parliament's transport select committee it made sense to shut the offices and have more people apply for visas electronically.

He says the Immigration Service is also reviewing other offices, including in Queenstown and Hamilton.

Mr Woodhouse says what is important to him is that the network of offices is fit for purpose and cost effective.

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns about the possible effect on worker recruitment in the town if the local office closes, given more than 60% of the town's workforce is made up of foreign employees.

Immigration New Zealand's southern regional manager, Mike Christie, says he's taking those concerns on board and the future of the Queenstown office will be reviewed.