NZ visas for Chinese bank's clients fast-tracked

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RNZ rnz.co.nz

More than half of some Bank of China clients who applied for a tourist visa had it approved within one business day in the past two years, after an agreement to fast-track them.

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Source: Breakfast

Immigration New Zealand introduced a streamlined visa process for the banks' Private Banking or Prestigious Wealth Management clients who applied for New Zealand tourist visas over the past two years.

It has since also signed a similar deal with China UnionPay for its Platinum or Diamond credit card holders.

The Bank of China said the streamlined applications had cut visa processing times by at least half, from 15 days to fewer than five days, and in the past year, more than half of its clients that had applied for tourist visas, had them approved within one business day.

Its associate New Zealand director Pengbo Jiang said it had boosted their clients' experiences of overseas study, travelling and investing in New Zealand.

"It has also enhanced the Bank of China Private Banking and Prestigious Wealth Management brand value, and helped us further implement the Bank of China global wealth management overseas development strategy."

Under the agreement, those travellers no longer needed to provide evidence of onward travel from New Zealand or their financial employment status.

Immigration New Zealand's tourism sector relationship manager Andrew Johns said Chinese tourist numbers had increased significantly in recent years and that growth was forecast to continue.

"We look forward to our continued collaboration with Bank of China, which will not only help to attract higher calibre visitors but more importantly, will continue to promote New Zealand as a preferred destination to the world," he said.

Next year is the China-NZ Year of Tourism, and Immigration New Zealand hopes to bring more potential Chinese tourists to the country through a simpler visa application process and is working with airlines to open more direct flights.

The Bank of China partnered with Local Government New Zealand on the NZ-China Mayoral Forum in December, with a key focus on trade and investment opportunities in tourism.

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