Well, well, well. It's the grand announcement of a generation. One we have all been awaiting for so very long now with so much anticipation. The words "soon", "very soon" ringing hollow, they had been said by the Minister so many times. In the backdrop, there has been much so much speculation. Inner circles mused what was sensible and right and then, what the Minister would actually do. So much pressure has been applied - migrants marching on the streets of Auckland; candlelight vigils and protests on the steps of Parliament. Greens, Act and National all standing in support and variously coming up with strong statements about the need for pathways to residence, among other things. We always said the problems could be fixed with the stroke of a pen and here we are. That stroke has been struck!
Well, I guess when your back is up against the wall and you have created such a terrible mess, one sure way to get out of it is to come up with a "knock your socks" response to blow all else out of the water. This is what this is. This is what the government wants to be remembered by and to claim the glory of a policy that will now change the lives of up to 165,000 people.
Looks like we really are going to be the team of - ahem - 5 million plus plus.
So let's start to dissect this new set of policies and see what's in store.
This will also be open to anyone coming into NZ as a critical worker of any type for more than 6 months until 31 July 2022.
Crucially, we see no age or English language criteria. So this also needs to be confirmed but if true will bring much-needed relief to many.
So here it gets interesting. This one-off visa will open on 1 December and close on 31 July 2022.
There will be two cohorts:
Evidently, the plan is for INZ to start contacting all those potentially eligible for the first cohort during the month of October.
Applicants for this new visa will experience a streamlined process whereby the only matters to be checked will be health, character (normal residence requirements to be met) and also the base criteria. Gone will be the key issue in any SMC of checking points and ANZSCO. All that falls away. This means that INZ can deploy or hire case officers to do this work without much training. The Minister then states he expects most 2021 Residence Visas to have been granted by December 2022. That is going to be an interesting space to watch but bring it on. We can't wait to say goodbye to the backlogs at INZ and I'm sure INZ relishes that thought too.
What we are all going to have to understand is:
The Minister has finished his release with some closing remarks:
“The Government is committed to rebalancing the immigration system for those who can come to work, study and live in New Zealand once our borders re-open. The 2021 Resident Visa is part of this,” Kris Faafoi said.
“This initiative addresses that immediate issue while work on the immigration rebalance looks longer term at preparing for the eventual reopening of New Zealand’s borders.
“But our message to industries and employers remains clear; they need to look for ways to build resilient workforces and to attract, train and retain local workers and reduce their reliance on low-skilled migrant labour,” Kris Faafoi said.
We know there is a good deal to unfold here and we will work to peel away the layers.
Since writing this initially very late into the night more details have been released and some of our own questions above have already been answered so have a good read through:
Book a free chat also if you want to talk about your options.