10 May 2012

Computer error sees hundreds granted New Zealand visa

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A computer error at Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has seen more than double the number of allocated places in the Silver Fern New Zealand visa programme granted.

New Zealand visa

More than 300 people who were told their New Zealand visa application had been rejected due to a computer error will receive their visas.

The Silver Fern programme, which allows skilled migrants aged between 20 and 35 a chance to move to New Zealand, runs each year and has an allocation of 300 places. However, after receiving over 4,000 applications within the first half an hour of opening, a computer error occurred which informed over 600 people their applications for a New Zealand visa had been accepted.

Despite the 300 places being filled, a further 306 people were informed their applications had been successful, only to be informed hours later in an email from New Zealand immigration authorities that there had been a technical fault.

'We regret to advise you of a technical fault...and that your application was accepted in error," said the email.

Rejected applicants were told they would receive a refund and were advised to apply again 'when the quota reopens about this time next year'.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has expressed his disappointment at the error and ordered a report as to why the error occurred originally.

However, after receiving widespread criticism from immigration specialists, Immigration New Zealand has confirmed it will honour the original acceptance and process the surplus applications.

"INZ has reviewed the circumstances and in an act of good faith will accept all applicants who completed the application process with confirmed payment," said Rob Stevens, service support general manager at INZ.

"It is pleasing to see such large numbers of young, skilled migrants from all over the world wanting to come to New Zealand."

The decision to grant all erroneous applications came after pressure from professionals, many of whom had clients rejected following the error.

"Here we are trying to encourage more to use Immigration's online services, but what we have is an agency with an archaic computer system that cannot support it," said New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment Director Katy Armstrong.

"It doesn't help our efforts in trying to get skilled migrants to come in."


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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