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Migration Trends and Outlook 2007/08

APPENDIX C: DESCRIPTION OF TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT RESIDENCE CATEGORIES

This appendix describes the key features of the temporary and permanent residence categories. For a comprehensive outline of specific requirements, see the Immigration New Zealand website (www.immigration.govt.nz).

C1 Temporary categories

Table C1 Description of temporary work policies

Visitor Policy

The aim of the Visitor Policy is to facilitate the entry of genuine visitors (that is, people who will not work illegally, commit crime, or overstay their permits) to benefit New Zealand's economy.

The nationals of 55 countries do not need to apply for a visa before travelling to New Zealand, so are granted a permit on their arrival as long as they:

Australian nationals are treated as New Zealanders (unless they have criminal convictions), and Australian permanent residents are treated as New Zealand permanent residents. Other nationals must apply in advance, demonstrate they meet the tests, and obtain a visa to travel to New Zealand.

Student Policy

The aim of the Student Policy is to facilitate the entry into New Zealand of foreign students, with a focus on attracting and developing students who have the skills and talent New Zealand needs. International students help to develop international linkages (including through exchange schemes) and sustain economic development through foreign exchange earnings. A non-New Zealand citizen or resident requires a student permit to attend a course of more than three months' duration.

Work Policy

The aim of the Work Policy is to contribute to building New Zealand's human capability base. This is done by facilitating the access of New Zealand employers and New Zealand industry to global skills and knowledge, while complementing the Government's education and employment policies. Work permits allow employers to recruit temporary workers from overseas to meet particular or seasonal work shortages that cannot be met from within New Zealand, while protecting employment opportunities and conditions for New Zealand workers.

A wide variety of people may be granted open work permits, usually with conditions relating to the amount of time they can work. They include:

Work to Residence Policies
Work to Residence Policies are temporary work policies that provide a pathway to residence for temporary migrants. These temporary work categories each have a corresponding residence category through which the work permit holder may apply if certain conditions are met. The current work to residence policies are the:

C2 New Zealand Residence Programme

In planning the desired level of immigration, the Government approves an annual immigration programme (the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP)), which places an upper limit on the number of people who may be approved for residence in a financial year. The importance of stability in immigration flows is one factor taken into account when setting the NZRP levels. Tables C2, C3 and C4 describe the NZRP categories.

C2.1 General rules

The principal applicant must meet the policy of the relevant category and, where applicable, they may include their spouse or partner and dependent children in their application. Everyone included in an application must pass a health check, everyone included who is aged 17 or over must pass a character (police clearance) check, and, where necessary, meet English language requirements.

Everyone intending to stay in New Zealand for longer than 12 months (and who is not a New Zealand or Australian citizen or permanent resident) must undergo medical screening to ensure they have an 'acceptable standard of health' for immigration purposes. This includes screening for tuberculosis (TB). Since November 2005, the definition of an 'acceptable standard of health' has been based on significant cost and demand thresholds for publicly funded health and special education services.

In 2004, immigration health screening changed to reduce risks to public health. In April 2004, TB screening became mandatory for every student with TB risk factors (that is, anyone from or having spent considerable time in one or more high-risk countries) and intending to be in New Zealand for six months or more. In November 2004, TB screening was extended to include all people with TB risk factors intending to stay in New Zealand for more than six months, and from April 2005, the screening policy was extended to working holidaymakers.

In August 2005, a medical and chest x-ray certificate was issued to support the new health screening framework. New requirements included additional compulsory blood tests for applicants aged 15 years and over to include HIV, Hepatitis B, a full blood count, serum creatinine, and liver function; an assessment for critical developmental delay, particularly in children; and an assessment for impaired cognitive performance, with compulsory screening for applicants aged 70 or over. Since November 2005, all people entering New Zealand for longer than 12 months have been required to complete the medical and chest x-ray certificate dated August 2005.

Table C2 Key policy features of the Skilled/Business Stream

Category

Key policy features

Skilled Migrant Category

Applicants must meet a minimum threshold of 100 points to register an expression of interest into a pool. Expressions of interest are selected from the pool based on a selection point and on the basis of other criteria the Minister of Immigration sets. After initial verification, applicants are invited to apply through the Skilled Migrant Category.

General Skills Category

The General Skills Category was closed on 12 November 2003.

Entrepreneur Category

The Entrepreneur Category was established for people who can demonstrate they have successfully set up and operated a business in New Zealand. Applicants first enter New Zealand on a long-term business visa (under the Work to Residence Policy).

Investor Category

The Investor Category was closed on 26 November 2007 and replaced by the Active Investor Migrant Policy.

Active Investor Migrant Policy (effective from 26November 2007)

The Active Investor Migrant Policy is segmented into three subcategories on the basis of the migrant's potential contribution and the assessed level of risk.

  • Global Investor Category: The highest priority category for high-value investors investing $20million (including at least $5million in active investment) in New Zealand.
  • Professional Investor Category: The second priority category for migrants investing $10million (including at least $2million in active investment) in New Zealand.
  • General (Active) Investor Category: A category for people investing a minimum of $2.5million in New Zealand.

Applicants are selected through a points system.

Employees of Relocating Businesses Category

The Employees of Relocating Businesses Category was established for key people in a business relocating to New Zealand who do not qualify for residence under any other residence category. There is a two-year employment period before the residence permit is endorsed.

Residence from Work Category

The Residence from Work Category is for people who are already in New Zealand on a work to residence permit for at least two years and want to apply for residence through the relevant work policy: the Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Policy, Long Term Skill Shortage List, Talent (Arts and Culture) Work Policy, or Talent (Sports) Work Policy.

 

Table C3 Key policy features of the Uncapped Family Sponsored and Parent Sibling Adult Child Streams

Category

Key policy features

Partnership

The Partnership Category enables the partner (including spouse, de facto, civil union partner or same-sex partner) of a New Zealand citizen or resident to apply for residence. Applicants must provide evidence that they have been living in a partnership that is genuine and stable for 12months or more.

Parent

The Parent Category enables the parent(s) of a New Zealand citizen or resident to apply for residence if they have no dependent children and all of their children live outside of the parent's home country, or the centre of gravity of their family is in New Zealand. The applicant's child must be an eligible sponsor.

Sibling

The Family Sibling Category enables siblings of New Zealand citizens or residents to gain residence. Applicants must have no immediate family in their home country, have an acceptable offer of employment in New Zealand, be able to financially support any dependents, and have an eligible sponsor. From August 2006, the age limit for people applying through this category is 55 years.

Dependent Child

The Dependent Child Category enables dependent children of parents with New Zealand residence to gain residence. The applicant must have been born or adopted before his or her parents applied for residence and have been declared on his or her parents' application for residence, or have been born after his or her parents applied for residence, or have been adopted by his or her parents as a result of a New Zealand adoption or an overseas adoption recognised under New Zealand law.

Adult Child

The Adult Child Category enables the adult children of New Zealand citizens or residents to gain residence. Applicants must have no immediate family in their home country, have an acceptable offer of employment in New Zealand, be able to financially support any dependents and have an eligible sponsor. From August 2006, the age limit for people applying through this policy is 55 years.

Family Quota
(now closed)

The Family Quota enabled New Zealand citizens and residents to sponsor family members who did not qualify for residence under any other residence policies. This quota operated only when there were sufficient places in the family-sponsored streams (that is, at times of low demand). No places have been offered since 2003.

October 2000 Transitional Policy (now closed)

The October 2000 Transitional Policy offered well-settled overstayers the opportunity to apply for a two-year work permit and then transition to residence. Applicants must have been in New Zealand for five years or more and have had no convictions. An applicant whose partner was a New Zealand citizen or resident, or had a New Zealand-born child, was counted through the family-sponsored streams. The remainder were counted through the International/Humanitarian Stream.

Humanitarian
(now closed)

The Humanitarian Category allowed people to enter New Zealand when serious humanitarian circumstances existed and there was a close family connection with New Zealand.

 

Table C4 Key policy features of International/Humanitarian Stream

Category

Key policy features

Refugee Quota

Under the Refugee Quota, New Zealand provides assistance to mandated refugees (people the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has determined to be refugees before their arrival in New Zealand). The Government sets the number of places available for mandated refugees under the Refugee Quota (currently 750 people per year).

1995 Refugee Status

To be eligible to claim refugee status, a claimant (asylum seeker) must be in New Zealand at the time of making a claim and may be in New Zealand lawfully or unlawfully. Successful refugee claimants (that is, refugees under the 1951 United Nations Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees) may apply for residence.

Refugee Family Support (July 2007)

The Refugee Family Support Category was formerly called the Refugee Family Quota. It allows some people who were granted residence as refugees to sponsor family members for residence in New Zealand. From July 2007, a two-tier registration system has been established. Sponsors who meet tier one criteria have first access to available places and are queued. If places are not filled by those in tier one, registrations are called for from those who meet tier two criteria, and are balloted to fill the remaining places. Each year, 300 places are available.

Samoan Quota

The Samoan Quota allows up to 1,100 Samoan citizens, including partners and dependent children, to be granted residence in New Zealand each year. Applicants must have an acceptable offer of employment, be aged 18-45, and meet minimum income requirements if they have dependants. Places in this quota are balloted.

Pacific Access Category (PAC)

The PAC allows up to 250 citizens of Tonga, 75 citizens of Tuvalu, and 75 citizens of Kiribati (including the spouses, de facto partners, and dependent children of principal applicants) to be granted residence in New Zealand each year. Applicants must have an acceptable offer of employment, be aged 18-45, and meet minimum income requirements if they have dependants. Places in this quota are balloted.

Ministerial direction

In special circumstances, the Minister of Immigration (or delegate) may give any immigration officer a special direction in relation to any person, permit, visa, or document. No person has the right to apply for a special direction, and the Minister is not obliged to consider the application or give reasons for any decision on it, other than that sections 7(4) and 130(6)(b)(i) of the Immigration Act 1987 apply.

Section 35A

In special circumstances, a person unlawfully in New Zealand may be granted a permit as a special case under section 35A of the Immigration Act 1987. No person has the right to apply for a permit if they are unlawfully in New Zealand, and neither the Department of Labour nor the Minister of Immigration is required to consider any request made.

Victims of Domestic Violence Policy

A person may be granted residence under the Victims of Domestic Violence Policy if they have, or have had, a marriage or relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident that has ended due to domestic violence by the New Zealand citizen or resident, and the person is unable to return to their home country because they would be disowned by their family and community as a result of their relationship and would have no means of independent support.

Special Zimbabwe Residence Policy (now closed)

The Special Zimbabwe Residence Policy allows Zimbabwe nationals who arrived in New Zealand on or before 23September 2004 and who do not meet the requirements for approval under any other residence category to be granted residence. Applications made after 30 August 2006 were exempted from the requirement for the applicant to be of an acceptable standard of health. The closing date for applications under this policy was 28 February 2007.