Many migrant workers are currently facing uncertainty in their residence in New Zealand because of strict protocols that severely limit the visas allowed.
About 165,000 migrants could be included as most of them fit the criteria of working and living in the area for at least three years, earning more than $27, and having a skill that is highly demanded in the country.
However, many are uncertain about this because of the limitations when it comes to the visas allowed. In particular, those with student visas may find themselves rejected.
The Green Party of New Zealand explained that current regulations about immigration limits the number of essential workers that can be granted visas. They explain that thousands of workers have been excluded because of the “clumsy” restrictions set.
The following visas are the only ones to be accepted for residency:
· Post Study
· Religious Work
· Essential Skills
· Talent Work
· Skilled Migrant
· Victim of Family Violence
· South Island Contribution
· Work Visa
· Silver Fern Practical Experience
· Critical health workers which have met the restrictions on length of stay
If they meet the required length of stay and have the appropriate visa, they can settle to become a permanent citizen within one year.
They will also need to undergo requirements for their health and character. Some may also be asked for police certificates.
The main immigrants that are mostly affected by the restrictive protocols include those with student, visitor, and seasonal worker visas.
Minister of Immigration Kris Faaofoi said that they still have a chance for residency but may need to apply for another type of visa. He further explains that the main purpose of these protocols is to prioritize improving and stabilizing the economy of the country.
The Green Party further explained that there are many issues underlying visas which affect many migrants. For example, there are backlogs and exploitation issues which can affect their length of stay.
They have currently started a petition for extending the residency scheme. They are also working hard to ensure that those who work under essential industries but currently hold excluded visas will be included.
Currently, New Zealand’s economy is growing at a fast pace despite the recent restrictions brought by rising rates of the coronavirus. Their GDP rates have increased by 2.8% which is a big rise after a recent drop brought by unemployment. With the new regulations that support the inclusion of migrant workers as residents, this is expected to grow more.