New AI tool to process applications

INZ is poised to usher in new technology that, if all goes to plan, will automate the application process and cut handling times drastically.

Immigration New Zealand will soon roll out high-tech enhancements to its online system, phasing in paperless visa processing from late 2021. What’s radically different about the new AI system, is that no actual people will be involved in the processing of applications – unless the system triggers a need for human involvement.

So, how will the new system work?

In a nutshell, an artificial intelligence programme reads the documentation, checks it against lodgement criteria, and processes the application using algorithms before making a decision. Human intervention will be triggered only in cases where there is a need for further verification, such as a character or medical issue or some technical matter that requires referral.

Does relying on a robot sound a bit scary? We’ve been told that the new system will actually increase accuracy by ensuring that correct and complete information is provided at each stage. Tools being introduced include a global address finder, photo-quality checker, and a passport eChip verification mobile app.

Applicants will be told what evidence they need to submit at the time of application, with medical certificates requested after that, if need be. Sponsors and supporting partners will also be able submit declarations online.

Applicants are automatically updated

Instead of just waiting and wondering what’s happening, you’ll be able to see the status of your application in real time using an online dashboard, and you’ll receive an email notification whenever further action is required. You can also apply for reconsideration or a variation of conditions if your original application was lodged using the new AI-enhanced system.

This will obviously make the visa application process faster and easier for everyone involved, with fewer follow-ups – a welcome relief in the face of the largest backlog of applications in INZ history. Wait times are now being measured in years rather than months, and 36,000 skilled migrant applications are still waiting to be processed.

One thing to note: Cases without human involvement will not generate any of the data normally obtainable under the Privacy Act.

Looking for advice? Or need a review of your application? Get in touch with our team if you need help or advice with your visa.

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