Shortcomings in the RealMe system may mean that paper applications for visas will be around longer than planned.
Immigration New Zealand may be slowing down its transition to online-only applications until recently raised privacy concerns are addressed and fixes are applied.
On August 6th Radio New Zealand revealed that several months ago Immigration New Zealand was made aware that some immigration advisers were sharing their RealMe details to allow other individuals to and enter details for visa applications.
RealMe is an identification system used by Immigration New Zealand to identify individuals lodging visa applications.
The breaches occurred mainly in immigration advice companies, where multiple staff would use one account and enter client details.
Immigration New Zealand does not oppose the practice of having multiple people working on an application, the breaches highlight shortfalls in the current systems.
According to the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment chairperson June Ranson, the process has not been well thought-out, and the current problems are a product of the system being rushed-out.
The Immigration New Zealand general manager service design and performance Stephen Dunstan has stated that advisers are not bound to using the online system, and that paper application forms are still available.
However, June Ranson argues that “…the inconvenience that’s going to be caused to applicants is that going back to paper, they have to pay more for their application. They have got the risk that their documents – hard copy documents – can only be transferred through the courier system, which can get lost and it’s more time consuming.”
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has weighed in on the matter and argued that Immigration New Zealand needs to implement a more robust identification system before application forms are transitioned to being entirely online.