Immigration New Zealand has requested the security intelligence service to prioritize national security checks that have been waiting for over nine m
Immigration New Zealand has requested the security intelligence service to prioritize national security checks that have been waiting for over nine months. The security intelligence service (SIS) has faced a significant increase of almost 200% in checks for residence visas. Half of the fast-track green list residence applications, particularly for medical, engineering, and IT jobs, are awaiting security checks that typically take around six months. While the SIS has not disclosed its average processing time, discussions are underway to formalize timeframes in a service level agreement with Immigration New Zealand. The SIS emphasizes the need to balance transparency with national security concerns, as disclosing processing times could potentially compromise security and defense. The SIS aims to complete 90% of residence applications within six months for routine responses and 90% of temporary visa applications within two weeks. The increase in resident category visa applications referred to the SIS for national security checks has surged by 192.6% since 2018. Discussions between the SIS and Immigration New Zealand before the introduction of the 2021 Resident Visa included an agreement that the SIS would have a 12-month timeframe to complete all checks, with an expectation of six months for each check. The SIS also highlights that processing times depend on various factors, including existing information holdings, the number and types of holdings, and the need for additional information from applicants. However, the SIS was not consulted about its capacity to conduct security checks before the introduction of the Green List Straight to Residence pathway.