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Visa Complications Plague Young Kiwis Planning Their Big OE

Wednesday 21th June 2017

Visa Complications Plague Young Kiwis Planning Their Big OE

Young New Zealanders planning their Big OE are being hampered by visa complications, which are sometimes so difficult to understand that expert advice is the only solution.

The tit for tat spat over visas between New Zealand and South Africa means that many young Kiwis are finding it almost impossible to navigate the new regulations for travellers according to Vicki Kenny, founder of International Working Holidays, the specialist overseas employment agency.

She says: `The requirement that travellers from New Zealand now have to get a visa to visit South Africa has affected our volunteers but worse is the haphazard way the new regulations are being applied.

`Three of our volunteers have been declined visas - and not been given a specific reason as to why. One reapplied and got the visa. The process is outsourced by the South African government to VFS Global, but it is very difficult to find anyone to talk to about any problems. Our volunteer may have applied for a volunteer visa or they processed it as one - or she wrote the wrong day as her passport expiry date. We don’t know. The fact is they just decline under Section 11 of the Immigration Act and don’t give any further detail. - you can’t talk to anyone about it - VFS manage the visa applications - and they don’t know.

`We just had two girls declined last week. One has managed to change her flights to August in the hope she will get the visa the second time around. Again we don’t know why she was declined. Because they need a stupid number of documents to apply there is such a lot of possibility for error in the system. Her friend was also declined (they were both due to fly early June). She has taken a semester off uni to volunteer in Africa and worked two jobs all summer to afford the flights and cost of the trip - over $6000 and she had to cancel and not transfer. So she has lost everything. She phoned us in tears last week.’

The difficulties with South Africa are mirrored by problems in Britain for New Zealanders wishing to work there. The British Government, is having some serious issues processing visas at the moment too.

Vicki Kenny explains: `We had a participant apply in May (11th) for a 7 day priority visa processing (which they offer at a fee of £120 extra) and she didn’t get her visa for 4 weeks. This meant she missed her US Visa appointment for her J1 Camp America visa. Again we get no explanation of delay and it appears to be affecting all types of UK visas. It used to be simple to get a UK visa, but these days if you make just one mistake the application will get sent back and you will have to reapply and pay another application fee. Since they don’t tell you what you have got wrong you might end up doing it all again and still have the application rejected. It’s a big risk if your flights are already booked and you get it wrong. A lot of kids choose bargain flights, which don’t allow refunds or date changes.’

Luckily we have access to the British High Commission Liaison Officers so those that use our visa service for the UK get the follow up and calls (at £1.99 per minute) included in the service.


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