New Zealand is going to launch a facilitated visa process for Chinese business events visitors from March 2015. Signed by Tourism New Zealand (TNZ), Immigration New Zealand and 12 business events travel agents in Shanghai in January, the MoU for Lodgement of Business Events Visa Applications is expected to spur strong growth in Chinese business event visitors to New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand's General Manager Asia David Craig says, "The aim of this MoU is to make conference and incentive trips more accessible to Chinese business travellers.

"New Zealand offers world class facilities and activities and should be considered a leading choice for Chinese business events."

International business events is a key part of the organisation's strategy to help drive higher value visitors to New Zealand. Over the last 18 months, Tourism New Zealand's work in this sector has secured 2,631 business events travellers, representing over NZD $19 million in economic value to New Zealand.

The programme will be launched in East and Northern China once the first group of 20 business events travel specialists qualify.

The China MoU follows on from a similar process launched in India last November, which saw visitors travelling for recognised business events benefit from faster visa processing times and reduced paperwork requirements.

Since 2013, the New Zealand Government has invested in upgrading and expanding business events facilities in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown with the goal of accommodating over 7,000 business events visitors by 2018.

When the MOU comes into effect on 2 March 2015, applicants applying for visas through designated business events travel agencies will receive the following benefits:

  • regardless of where the applicant lives, applications will be able to be submitted by the travel agent at their closest visa application centre
  • a dedicated Immigration New Zealand point of contact will be appointed to handle all queries concerning business events visa applications
  • the documents required for visa applications will be greatly streamlined through business events partner agents

after all applications are signed, and all necessary documents are submitted, the processing time for business events visas will only be three working days