Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has denied ever profiling visa applicants based on racial grounds to evaluate the threat they may pose to the country.
A briefing document for student visa shows that nine countries were blanked out on a list where visa applications have been sorted out based on high, medium, and low risk.
According to Richard Small, an immigration lawyer, risk profiling has long been happening.
He revealed that there's a ranking which has the country's visa-free countries at the top of the list and all the way to the bottom with the countries with the most risks.
According to him, the judgment on INZ should be based on the execution of its duties such as protecting the borders and its treatment of employers, visa applicants, and sponsors.
He called for the automation of decisions, branch closures, review of the restructure, and high staff turnover to be put under review.
At INZ, risk profiles became part of the rising use of 'roboting' because there needed to be an independent oversight set up for it.
Applications which formerly were graded as 'low risk' are now being placed under priority. The rest have been queued up and will be dealt with when the others have been processed.
Jeannie Melville, the assistant general manager for visa services at INZ, said that the agency still manually processed visa applications. She also said that they do not judge an applicants' risk level wholly by their nationality.
The factors put into consideration in processing visa applications — especially study visas — include the agent, the provider, the level of the course, the student's age, and so many other factors.
According to her, the table was made to represent the countries with the highest numbers in each of the three categories of high, medium, and low risk.
INZ has been changing its operations since it started closing its branches and the ensuing delays in visa processing.
One of such changes is the backflip on its initial decision to close the Henderson branch in Auckland. The branch will now only be expanded. Another is the delay in closing its Manila branch which is one of its few branches left in the overseas.
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