|New Zealand speeds visas for specialist agent students
Students applying through New Zealand Specialist Agents (NZSA) will have their visa applications processed within 10 working days. A dedicated point of contact for NZSA members within all Immigration New Zealand branches will also now be available.
photo: Tourism New Zealand
New Zealand’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Steven Joyce, said the announcement is a good example of government departments working together to support the sector. “The international education industry is worth over NZ$2 billion [US$1.5 billion] to New Zealand’s economy. It is a bridge between New Zealand and the world. We want to double the economic and social benefits that international education brings over the next 15 years.
“Only by the government working closely with the sector, and developing initiatives such as this that support growth, will we achieve that goal,” he added.
Immigration Minister, Nathan Guy, said the MoU would see an enhanced role for Immigration New Zealand in the operation of the NZSA programme. “Immigration New Zealand plays a key role in facilitating the entry of around 100,000 international students who come here each year,” he said.
Constanze Baarlage, a New Zealand Specialist Agent at TravelPlus Group GmbH, welcomed the announcement. She confirmed that relations with the New Zealand Embassy in Germany are very positive and visas are usually processed within that timeframe. “Regardless, it is a benefit. It is a good thing that we can use for marketing purposes. We are often asked about the specialist agent logo, so it is great if we can say that this guarantees a visa in a certain time,” she said.
The New Zealand Specialist Agent scheme was launched in 2008. After its initial inception as training for individual advisors, it is now agencies that are accredited, with a member of the senior management team or owner required to attend the in-country training workshop.