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New Zealand invests in new visa system to draw skilled immigrants


14:33, December 13, 2011

WELLINGTON, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government says a major investment in a new immigration IT system will help attract skilled immigrants and boost security.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman announced Tuesday the government would be spending 75 million NZ dollars (57.32 million U.S. dollars) on the new system.

"We are competing worldwide to recruit skilled and talented people, and a new system will help speed up the processing of visa applications and allow applicants to do more online. Providing a fast and modern service is critical in attracting skilled migrants who can help grow the economy," said Coleman in a statement.

"The existing IT system is over 15 years old and is reaching the end of its technological lifespan. The cost of even simple changes is high and cannot be maintained over the long term. It's also significantly impairing our ability to provide standards of service and security comparable to other nations."

The new Immigration Global Management System (IGMS) would enable more online processing and automation of simple tasks for clients and employers and the ability for all data to be accessed by Immigration New Zealand offices worldwide.

The system would also provide biometric capability, which would significantly improve identity management and enhance security, he said.

Visa applicants would have their own individual online immigration accounts, allowing them to enter all their details online and track progress on their applications.

The IGMS system was scheduled to start going into service early next year.

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