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International insights from the verification office in Washington DC

Katherine visiting one of the sites in Washington DC.

No two days are the same for Katherine Bruce, a Verification Officer based in Washington DC. As part of her role, she is constantly learning and has to maintain a well-balanced and up-to-date view of more than 30 diverse countries.

29 November 2023
3 minute read

Katherine Bruce is an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Verification Officer based in Washington DC. Katherine and her colleagues provide INZ staff assessing visa applications with specialist verification support and up-to-date information on topics affecting immigration coming from the Americas and Israel. 

"Working in this space gives us an exciting opportunity to be a part of building our future in the Latin Americas region. We help ensure that Aotearoa New Zealand benefits from the great value of the vast number of skills and diversity from the Americas region whilst protecting both Kiwis and migrants from potential harm," says Katherine.   

"We also maintain and foster relationships with stakeholders in the region so we can ensure our colleagues back home stay on top of any new threats or opportunities, keeping our borders both safe and welcoming."

Career to here

Dancer balancing on one hand in an outdoor setting

After completing her studies in International Relations/Spanish/Teaching at Victoria University of Wellington, Katherine jumped straight into working at INZ as it aligned with her studies and her interests in different cultures.  

"I started in the Henderson office in 2015, as an Immigration Officer in the temporary processing team before moving to the INZ office in London a few months later. This led me to staying overseas and moving to Chile a couple of years later where I worked for the Australian Department of Home Affairs focusing on immigration and border related risk and capacity building in the Americas region."

It is well known to Katherine's family and friends that she is an international relations nerd so there are many aspects to the role she loves.  

"Each day is really different and I am always constantly learning. As we have to be across a diverse region of more than 30 countries, it is a constant challenge to be as ahead of the game as we can. Also, having lived in Chile for over three years, I love being able to apply my local knowledge and Spanish language skill sets to the role. 

"As corny as it sounds, to quote the late great legend Tina Turner — the INZ people (and particularly my team) are 'simply the best'. I love all the INZ people I have had a chance to work with as they are very supportive and all want the best for Aotearoa New Zealand."

Outside of work

"One of the reasons I love this role is the work life balance. I spend most weekends exploring — hiking in nature, visiting another of the many historic sites in Washington DC — or going to one of the many music, dance, art shows and events with friends. In the brief moments I am not injured, I dance with a diverse local professional dance community centre, or simply spectate when I can't dance," says Katherine.