Hamilton branch faces restructure

The Hamilton branch of Immigration New Zealand is one of up to a dozen branches facing restructuring or closure within the next three years as part of a proposed national consolidation process.

Immigration New Zealand general manager Nicola Hogg said the proposed roll out of a new ''global service delivery model'' would improve its customer services and consolidate visa decision-making.

''Under the proposals two small branches - Sydney and Dunedin - would close towards the end of next year. 

''INZ plans to review a further eight to 10 branches, including the Hamilton branch.''

Ms Hogg said no decisions had been made yet, but any possible changes were expected to be made progressively over 2014 and 2015.

''If the Hamilton branch closes it will be replaced by a new Visa Application Centre, which manages administrative tasks related to INZ visa applications submitted both in person and by mail.

''They cannot provide immigration advice and have no influence on the outcome of an application for a New Zealand visa, which can only be decided by an INZ officer.''

She said alternative employment would be sought within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for affected staff.

''Redundancy is only considered as a last resort.''

However she said up to 25 jobs could be lost under a proposed change to the management structure in its Visa Services division.

The plan would see 50 existing branch and regional manager positions disestablished, along with 16 of the 76 existing immigration manager roles, with 41 new positions created.

''Staff are being consulted on the proposals for a new management structure and timing of other global service delivery model changes and all feedback will be considered before decisions are made.''

Jovi Abellanosa, relationships manager at Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust said the changes were not as bad as they might first seem for members of the migrant community.

She said the 2015 vision would target the attraction and settlement of migrants and the provision of consistent and easily accessible information for them.

''I don't have specifics of these changes but as far as it is envisioned it should be positive. ''

Mrs Abellanosa said fewer visa types, a simplified application process, the majority of applications submitted online or by an agent and in-person customer service were some of the services she anticipated.