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Online Visa Application Privacy Issues

It has come to light that some immigration advisors have been breaching terms, on the government’s website, RealMe. Immigration advisors have to use the secure site, RealMe, in order to lodge applications on behalf of their clients. Now the privacy breaches have forced Immigration New Zealand to halt their efforts to move some of its visa applications solely online. Our own immigration advisor, June Ranson, has been interviewed by One News for her comment.

How this may be happening

“Typically the process involves more than one person in the office having access to an applicant’s file, sharing log-ins. It’s when you have the advisors who are in fact working in companies and they have back-up support people and those people can be acting on their behalf in loading information into RealMe and following up.” – June Ranson.

Online Visa applications CAN be a good thing

Mrs Ranson argues that paper applications are not without their problems and suggests the department bring back drop boxes. Previously these were used to let people submit their application at their local immigration office. A huge inconvenience will be caused to applicants, if they must go back to paper and they have to pay more for their application. They have also 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.

Mrs Ranson said in the rush to get visa applications online, the process hasn’t been thought through. “When Immigration New Zealand came up with the online system they never really thought through the potential problem for the online system being designed through using RealMe,” she said. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner agreed, questioning the rush to go online before a better identification system had been developed.

What’s being done

Immigration New Zealand has delayed putting visa applications for its student, visitor and temporary work visas solely online until it had satisfied the concerns of the Privacy Commissioner. Immigration New Zealand said it was working on a solution, and expected to have a business case completed by next month. As you can see, the process of applying for a visa application can be fraught with difficulty. Let the experts at Woburn International help you.