Work underway on MIQ glitch that locked visa holders out

Corazon Miller
Source: 1News

Work is underway on a glitch in the MIQ system that’s failed to recognise hundreds of visa holders, locking them out of Thursday’s room release.

From January 12 police logged 259 callouts to MIQ hotels.

In response to the 1News exclusive published on Friday, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment confirmed an update on the progress of this repair would be made next week - with options also offered for those who have been affected.

It confirmed 187 people with the legal right to enter New Zealand cannot be verified by the system, “but there could be others impacted by the data accuracy issues”.

Andrew Milne, associate deputy secretary of MIQ, says the issue stems from the introduction of a verification process using data from both Immigration New Zealand and the Department of Internal Affairs.

“The change was made to ensure people had the authorisation to arrive in New Zealand before booking a room…and wastage minimised as previously people would be able to book rooms even without the right to enter.”

While the vast majority had been able to get their details verified successfully - a small percentage were having issues ensuring their data entered in MIQ matched what was in the INZ system.

“Currently there is no manual verification system, and unfortunately, an unverified passenger cannot book an MIQ space.”

There had been some uncertainty that any work was being done to fix the glitch, after an email sent to a resident visa holder stuck offshore suggested this wouldn’t be happening till after New Zealand’s borders reopened.

The staged plans to reconnect New Zealand to the world are due to get underway in February, but with Omicron looming there are fears this could be pushed back again.

Milne on Saturday apologised to those who received the email.

“We apologise for the email some travellers may have received which indicates we are not working on fixing the issue. We can confirm MIQ and INZ are actively investigating and working to fix the issue.

“More updates will be available next week, including what options may be available for those impacted.”