An influx of traffic to Immigration New Zealand's website for Silver Fern work visa applications put the site out of action for much of the day yesterday.

The Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa, a nine month-long work permit for highly skilled people between the ages of 20 and 35 years old, is hot in-demand and has an annual quota of just 300 people.

Anton Popov, an IT engineer currently working in Myanmar, yesterday began applying for the visa at 10am when the option became available on Immigration New Zealand's website but when he clicked the terms and conditions he could no longer proceed.

The site was down from 10am until 11.15am, he then tried again at midday, 1pm and 3pm but had no luck as the site was still down, Popov said.


Russian hopeful Alexander Bogachev also experienced technical difficulties, posting in the Russians in New Zealand Facebook page that the site was down.

In his post, written in Cyrillic, Bogachev said: "Hey Silver Fern guys, how are you doing? Just visited the immigration website and saw there are still some places available, but the site is down again".

Immigration New Zealand assistant general manager Nick Story said all of the spots for this year's Silver Fern visa quota were filled within approximately three hours of the scheme opening.

"Unfortunately, because of the popularity of the visa some people may have experienced our website running slowly due to the very high demand," Story said.

"The Silver Fern visa scheme had been extremely popular with demand significantly increasing every year."

Silver Fern policies were implemented in 2010 with the aim of bringing young, skilled people into New Zealand.