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Why 2021 Resident Visa has become a drain on our resources?

27 January 2023

- Written by Zinnia Manchanda (Director, Licensed Immigration Adviser, #201600267) with input from Evan Wang (#202100122 ) 

We tell the same story to different clients everyday and we have been doing it since March 2022. It’s untenable. So we write this and we hope INZ processes change enough that this piece no longer holds true. 

This article covers:

1) What’s gone wrong with 2021 Resident Visa

2) Time frames that were promised when it first started

3) Misdirection of emotions

4) A licensed immigration adviser’s scope of influence (limited)

5) What can applicants do?

What’s gone wrong?

As a starting point, let’s look at what’s gone wrong this with visa category.

  • Status not changing for months?
  • Everything is complete and application is ‘under assessment’ but not approving? 
  • Interim Visa soon to expire but no news on decisions and no further options available?
  • Technical issues like lost medicals or disappearance of secondary applicants?
  • Settled criteria applicants not prioritised as promised?
  • Applications not allocated as per visa expiry?
  • Same reasons being given for delays with no transparency?
  • INZ contact centre limited visibility?

If you contact INZ about the one burning question i.e. lack of progress, you get the same response - “due to volume of applications, status remains the same for months”. That’s what INZ says every time. But is this really sinking into those who wait for decisions?

One of the key things that has gone wrong with 2021 Resident Visa is the applicants’ rejection of INZ’s message itself. They don’t believe the narrative – not when their friends/relatives got their approvals pretty fast, or when Facebook posts show others getting approved.

I am not going to hold back my words and will say it for what it is - this category is chaos and leaves the industry struggling. 

Here’s some email screenshots (over a period of time) showing INZ’s responses - see a common theme?

Timeframes promised:

When the category first opened in December 2021, Kris Faafoi was the immigration minister. He said:

6 months later, he said:

This continues to be the narrative to this day, 12-18 months, but the 2021 interim visa length hasn’t been adjusted, that still sits at 12 months. Will INZ look at it? Who knows.

INZ says 2021RV gives residence opportunity to so many people due to its simple criteria, something they would not have had otherwise so they need to wait.

But there is distrust! Many applicants start to think something is wrong with their application – because they don’t trust the system (the system has not proven itself to be reliable either!) or because someone they know got their residency a few days after it went to ‘Under Assessment’.

Misdirected Emotions:

So what do many 2021RV applicants do to cope with this delay and lack of clarity? They obsessively check their status everyday (and not seeing it change for months on end adds fuel to fire), they call INZ, they call their adviser, they vent, they express their frustration and anger. Now because they often won’t/can’t yell at INZ contact centre staff, these emotions are (mis)directed towards their advisers or immigration firms instead. Chaos indeed. 

Can your licensed immigration adviser get the residency sped up or status changed?

Short answer – no. INZ has released predefined priority criteria; but if you don’t fit into that, then advisers/lawyers cannot make your status change, cannot see anything beyond ADEPT or successfully ask managers to speed your residency unless you have extra-ordinary circumstances. In fact, advisers don’t even get an email when your status changes – but those applicants awaiting outcomes are likely to check their ADEPT very frequently so they are better able to monitor their own application status checks.

It is entirely futile to blame your Adviser for the lack of progress on your 2021RV. And it is an improbable expectation that the Adviser can contact Immigration and make wonders happen! The INZ contact centre or ICC clearly state they have limited visibility as well and there is no way to expedite applications. It’s underlined, cos’ I want to stress on this. 

There are no specific immigration officers allocated to 2021RV like other visa categories. The advisers at Aims Global have spent considerable time questioning INZ on the delays. One such response is below. So asking us to email the immigration officer... well, there is no immigration officer! Another dead end.