NEW ZEALAND— Immigration New Zealand is not planning to recruit any more staff to take on the processing of the one-off residence visas.

Instead, it says it will retrain existing employees to do the work when applications open in December.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced last month that 165,000 people may be eligible for the fast-track residence visabefore applications close in July.

The government said the one-off resident visa could see about 110,000 people already in New Zealand apply.

The one-off 2021 Resident Visa includes over 5000 health and aged care workers, around 9000 primary industry workers, and more than 800 teachers. Faafoi said some construction and manufacturing workers would also be eligible.

Immigration New Zealand says processing the new applications is a priority.

Its general manager of border and visa operations, Nicola Hogg, said the agency is committed to deciding the vast majority of applications within 12 months, and some much faster.

She said staff will be recruited to process a forecast increase in visa applications across the immigration system and to increase capacity, following the closure of overseas offices.