Media release: New Zealand Initiative welcomes immigration announcement
Wellington (Thursday, 30 September 2021) – The New Zealand Initiative has welcomed today’s announcement from Immigration Minister Hon Kris Faafoi that the government will provide a pathway to residency for migrants currently in New Zealand.
In May, The New Zealand Initiative implored the government to rethink their hostile approach to skilled migrants and called for migrants to be given residence. These calls were made after news that New Zealand was losing skilled workers, including healthcare professionals, due to the uncertainty of their immigration status.
Responding to today’s announcement, New Zealand Initiative Executive Director Dr Oliver Hartwich says:
“Thousands of migrants have been left in limbo due to border closures and the slow pace of assessing visa applications.
“We are elated that the government has decided to act on this glaring issue that has caused so much stress, anxiety and uncertainty for thousands of migrants and their families.
“We hope that this new directive from the Minister speeds up application processing and gives our valued migrant community assurance and a sense of belonging. The last thing we want is for this new policy to be handled in a bureaucratic way that takes too long to provide certainty," says Dr Hartwich.
New Zealand Initiative Chief Economist Dr Eric Crampton added:
“The announcement is welcome, but long overdue. Processing the new visas may take up to a year, and applications do not open until 1 December.
"Living in New Zealand as a non-resident has gotten a lot tougher. Non-residents are not allowed to purchase homes, and their children can be left in terrible limbo where both work and education are precluded. We hope that those going through this process will be considered to be on a residence pathway, and able to enjoy a more normal life here while the paperwork is in progress.
“We also hope that, if any of the Team of Five Million who have been with us since last March’s lockdown have been missed by this announcement, the terms could be updated to include them as well.”