New Zealand's immigration service is poised for a cloud makeover, with parent agency MBIE seeking an extensible and automated cloud platform to manage work visas and enable it to respond quickly to environmental and economic shocks.
A request for proposals issued last week stipulates the proposed solution must be based on either Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Salesforce.
The "digital business solution" (DBS), as it is called, will include foundational cloud services, initial business service configurations and the ability to configure further immigration services to improve the performance of the immigration regulation and deliver more self-service offerings.
"The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) intends to procure a DBS that is capable of being extended to host future services across the breadth of INZ business," the tender said.
It includes "pipeline scenarios" that Immigration NZ may want to advance in the future and invites comment on those.
A 2019 cabinet paper, "A New Approach to Employer Assisted Work Visa (EAWV) and Regional Workforce Planning", noted that INZ required an immigration system that was flexible enough to respond to the economic context that New Zealand operates in.
The cabinet paper concluded that piecemeal improvements were not sufficient to achieve a system that both put New Zealanders first and supported businesses with genuine labour shortages.
System complexity, alack of check and balances and a lack of incentives to train local workers meant that small adjustments to current settings would shift problems to other parts of the system rather than addressing the causes, it said.
"In the current strong economic conditions, with an unemployment rate of 3.9 per cent, we can expect thedemand for temporary foreign workers to be strong," it said.
"However, should economic conditions change, the immigration system needs to remain fit for purpose by being flexible and able to respond to those changes."
The paper also outlined that there were too few real checks and balances and obligations on employers hiring migrants, meaning employers with poor track records are still able to access migrant labour.
"The employer assisted work visa project is to deliver the solution to these issues. A new employer risk and verification function is being introduced through the wider policy change."
Visitor visa numbers are also increasing and INZ needs to enhance its ability to process visa applications while ensuring genuine travellers still have as close to a seamless visa application experience as possible.
An Automated Decision Assist (ADA) project will deliver a streamlined approach to visa processing on the new solution.
MBIE is seeking a solution that can support multiple instances within a MBIE tenancy with the capability to share common enterprise services and data.
Initially MBIE will require a separate instance for EAWV and another separate instance for ADA with separate environments for each instance, including the ability to capture and store data and information separately within each instance as part of the solution.