My friends and contacts shared my post about the Silver Fern Visa application on Facebook and I distinctly remember one Facebook user’s comment that this visa is nearly impossible to get especially with the quality of internet connections in the Philippines. I beg to disagree. Of course there are only 300 slots and applicant number 301’s (and so on) hopes will be crushed on that day BUT you can work on improving your chances in getting a slot and I will share with you here what to do to secure a slot.
Few days before application day
- Create an INZ Online Services account
You can create the account from here. I know some people who tried to register on the same day of the application and guess what, they are not able to secure slots. The website will be very slow on that day and you must not waste time by not having an account ready. Another important thing to point out is that you have to remember your log-in credentials. What is the use of creating the account on another day but forgetting the username and password on application day?
- Automatically sync your clock to a trusted time server
I do not set time manually. I just set my computer’s setting to automatic and trust that it is accurately calibrated. It has not failed me. Or you can manually select a time server that you trust. I would choose a server in New Zealand. http://www.pool.ntp.org/zone/nz
Here are my computer’s current settings:
- Ensure the stability of your internet connection
The Philippines is notorious for having really slow internet connection speeds but internet speed is not the only thing that you should worry about. Your connection must be stable. Your 100 Mbps internet would not help if the connection keeps on dropping. Make sure nobody else will be using the internet when you are applying, talk to your family, housemates, whoever. Turn off your other devices’ WIFI connection.
If you really cannot do something about your internet service quality, then maybe you can use your office internet or your friend’s internet. Try to find a 24-hour internet cafe.
- Know how to navigate the Immigration New Zealand website
You would think that this would not be a problem but it was for some. Months ago, the Immigration New Zealand website did not look like how it looks like now. The website was confusing! There was a Silver Fern information page and there was an “Apply” button on that same page. Clicking the button did not lead to the form but it lead to the login page. People spent precious time clicking this when they could have logged in before the application started.
- Have an idea what the Silver Fern application form would ask
Unfortunately for you I have not seen the Silver Fern application form yet so I cannot share with you the actual form but I have seen and used the Working Holiday application form. I have been told the questions are similar. Fortunately though I found out from my friend that the sections of the form are the following:
Page 1: Personal Details
Page 2: Silver Fern Requirements
Page 3: Health Details
Page 4: Character Details
Page 5: Contact Details
Using my knowledge of the Working Holiday application form, here are the information that I think that may be asked on the form:
Surname, Given Names, Date of Birth, Country of Birth, Passport Details, Secondary ID Details (You can use your driver’s licence, SSS ID or Birth Certificate)
Silver Fern Requirements
Qualification Details (Date of Award, School/University, Degree), English Language Proficiency, Funds
The questions may be similar to the screenshot below. I got this from the Work Visa Application form.
The questions may be similar to the screenshot below. I got this from the Partnership-based Temporary Visa Application form.
Mailing Address, Postal Address, Email Address, Landline, Mobile number, Email Address
Prepare the above-mentioned details on a Notepad text file and just copy paste information on application day. Make sure that the information listed do not have special characters. For example, those with “Ma.” in their names would have to type their name as “Ma”. Write your address as 18 Malingap St UP Village Quezon City; your phone number as +63 2 9999999.
- Verify and double/triple check the information you have prepared on a Notepad and familiarise yourself on where you put each data
- Secure a credit or debit card (Visa or MasterCard) and ensure it works online
If it is months before application day, then you can apply for a credit card (subject to approval) or convert your ATM card to a debit card (with Visa or MasterCard logo) if your bank allows for it. If you still do not have a credit or debit card by now, then borrow from a friend. Make sure that it works for online purchases by test purchase in Lazada or wherever.
Some cards have online usage protection by sending a confirmation code or one-time pin (OTP) to the cardholder’s phone number. If you are borrowing a card, make sure that the card you are using does not have this feature or else you will be waking a friend at 5 AM in the morning (Philippine time). Or you can sequester your friend’s phone as well.
And one last thing about cards, make sure that the card has sufficient balance and leave overhead for conversion fees. Most Philippine cards have 3.5% foreign exchange service fee so at NZD 1 = PHP 35, the application fee of NZD 298 will be around PHP 10,800. Here’s the math: (298*35*.035)+298*35 = 10,795.05
On application day
- Prepare your body
Wake up before 10 AM New Zealand time. Take a leak, take a dump. Be hydrated enough. Do not be hungry if you know your hunger will bother you. You know this.
- Prepare multiple devices and login in each of them
I prepared two computers (my Mac notebook and my brother’s Windows laptop) with 3 browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) opened in each. I used both computers to log-in before 5 AM Philippine time/10 AM New Zealand time. First one that loads the form will be your “primary” station. In my case it was my Mac that was able to load the form. Firefox is my favourite browser and I was delighted that this got into the form first.
Login through this link.
- Once logged in, scroll down to “Silver Fern Job Search”.
Click ‘Click here to apply‘ when the clock hits 10 AM NZ time.
- Skip not required fields
You do not have to fill out everything. You only have to fill out required information. Required information usually is appended by a red asterisk (*).
- Do not refresh the page unless you are directed to an error page (connection has timed out, no internet connection, etc)
Applicants during the previous years had reported seeing blank white screens and perpetually spinning loading icons. Just be patient. Your internet is trying to load the information little by little and if you refresh before getting an error page, you will just start from the beginning. Also do not make unnecessary clicks.
- Do not sacrifice accuracy for speed
Answer the form correctly. You do not want to answer YES to the have you ever been deported especially if it is not true.
- Click Next and not Save Details
The form has sections and before going to the next section it would ask you to save or to go to the next section. Since if you followed my advice and you have made sure your data is accurate before the application day, be confident in clicking Next instead of Save Section/Save Details.
After application day
If you have managed to secure a slot, then congratulations to you!
If you have failed to secure a slot, try to log-in days or weeks after as there may have been denials. A declined visa application means there is one more slot that has opened again! Update: Or just in case the lagging website appears once again this year, what they’ve done last year is open the application on different days (withouth actually announcing). So you really have to check.
If you really did not chance upon an open slot, review your Silver Fern application form, take note of the questions and answers, and apply again next year. This year’s form will be deleted before the next year’s application period starts which is only fair for those who have not tried applying.
I hope this post has helped you improve your chances in securing a slot. Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If you have tips to share, then please put them in comments below. Help a brother or sister out! If you need more information regarding the Silver Fern visa, please click here or check out the Immigration New Zealand page for Silver Fern visa here.