13 Jun 2013

Queenstown employers want immigration office to stay

8:15 am on 13 June 2013

Plans to close Queenstown's immigration office have run into resistance from the resort's business community.

Immigration New Zealand is rolling out a three-year plan to computerise visa applications and remove the need for many frontline staff.

The Dunedin office is to close in a few months, and the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce is worried that recruitment will be made more difficult if the local office also closes and applications are handled in Christchurch.

More than 60% of the town's workforce is made up of foreign employees.

Chamber chief executive Ann Lockhart says Queenstown by its very nature requires business owners to have a personal relationship with Immigration New Zealand.

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.