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Letter to the Editor: Backlog Of The Current Skilled Migrant Category

I am writing this email to draw your attention towards the issue with processing delays of Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) non priority queue. Over the last year a massive backlog of applications has accumulated and there are currently over 15000 applications on hand representing over 30000 people.

The delays are massive (more than 18 months now) and have been there long before COVID 19 happened. This is a result of INZ implementing priority criteria such as earning over $51 per hour and occupational registration and only processing these priority applications. The oldest application for the non-priority queue is 17th of December 2018 and the queue has been stuck in Dec 2018 for more than one year.

These priority criteria haven’t been communicated to applicants until earlier this year even though they have been applied for quite some time. It is beyond me how this is acceptable for a government department that claims to be kind and transparent as what is going on behind closed doors is anything but kind and transparent.

I submitted SMC in late Jan last year and my lodgement date was 30 April 2019. My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in China. She had a surgery done on 25th April 2020. I continued my application after I was back from China on 14 April which was just two weeks after her surgery. I was advised that at that time 95% of SMC applications would be processed within 7 months. Both my mother and I believed after half or one year or so my visa application would have a result and I would be able to have more flexibility to accompany her anytime if she needs me.

My mother suffered a BRAF V600E mutation colorectal cancer. It is an aggressive type of tumour and most of the patients are with poor prognosis. After the surgery she accepted 3 lines of treatments, each of which consisted of more than 3 drugs. She has to suffer strong side effects, lost all her hair and lost her weight heavily from 58kg to 43kg in half a year. She was even sent to ICU twice due to intestinal obstruction. I feel so bad that I was not there with her during all these bad times. However, with these efforts her condition is still not under control. In September of last year, she was diagnosed with abdominal and pelvic secondary malignant tumours.

I planned a trip back to China early this year to celebrate Chinese New Year with my mother. But she advised me to cancel the trip. She didn’t want us to take the risk of coronavirus. We decided to delay our trip until the virus issue is under control. However, travel restrictions in NZ made me struggle. As a work visa holder, I would not be allowed to re-enter NZ for a long time if I went back to China for my mother. In that case, I might lose my job and not be entitled for a resident visa. On the other hand, I have no idea how long my mother can wait for me 10000 miles away.

I applied for an escalation for my SMC application in March but INZ declined my request without any reason. Three months later on 3rd of June, my mother left me forever. There is no happy ending any more.

I have to say they destroyed my family's hope. I am really disappointed. I came to New Zealand in 2016 and I really wished it could be my second hometown. But it looks like INZ just gets my money and will never process my application forever. To be honest I cannot see any different between what INZ did and a scam. Yes it is a scam.

This is only my story. There are 30000 people whose lives are full of uncertainty and hopelessness because of INZ. Please help us spread our message so that we can get attention and justice.

© Scoop Media

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