Have you applied for South Island Work to Residence visa yet?

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The Ministry of Immigration in New Zealand recently announced new changes to their immigration policy.
The Government of New Zealand has stated that their policy changes have been designed to help control record-high levels of migration to the country.

This is happening amid growing concern about housing shortages, road congestion and overcrowding in Auckland, and other major New Zealand cities.
I have written about these changes and how they relate to your quest to become a Kiwi.
In this article, I’d like to concentrate on the Government’s announcement of a new policy to provide a one-off pathway to the residence for over 1000 migrant workers and their families who have been living in the South island for more than five years.
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What’s This South Island Visa Thing About Anyway?
So here is the dealio.
The Government of New Zealand will grant an initial Work to Residence temporary visa to eligible migrants.
The temporary visa makes them eligible for residence after two years with the caveat that they stay in the same industry and region.
After this two year period, eligible workers will then be granted a resident visa. Of course, the resident visa comes with a condition – workers are required to stay in the same South Island region for a further two years.
The New Zealand Government has scheduled the new policy to come into effect on 22 May 2017.
Once the new policy is in effect, applications for the visa will be accepted for 12 months from the effective date.
So Why Is The Government Introducing The Visa?
The New Zealand Government recognizes there are a number of low-skilled temporary migrants – in particular in the South Island – who
• Have been in New Zealand long-term and are well settled
• Currently, have no pathway to residence
This pathway policy provides citizenship certainty for a pool of long-term lower-skilled migrant workers in the South Island.
The Pathway allows these migrant workers to settle permanently as well as commit to their geographic regions.

Ok – I Understand The New Visa – How Many People Does This Affect?
On the South Island, there are ~1600 temporary workers who have been on an Essential Skills visa for five plus years.
In addition, it is estimated there is likely to be approximately 3,200 – 4,000 people in total who may qualify.
This includes the partners and dependent children of workers.

Who Qualifies Then For The Visa?

To get a Visa under the new policy you must –
• Have an Essential Skills work visa for a job in the South Island
• Hold current full-time employment. The employer cannot have a significant adverse employment record
• Have been employed on an Essential Skills work visa in the South Island for five years or more when the visa is implemented
• Be 55 or less years of age
• Meet requirement so for health and character

What’s The Damage To The Wallet?
The cost of the Visa includes Standard Work to Residence, Residence from Work, and immigration levy charges.
Standard application fees also apply for partners and dependent children.

So How Can I Apply For The South Island Visa?
The Government will make applications available on the May 22nd rollout,
Applications must be made using the paper form. You cannot apply online.

Final Thoughts On The New South Island Visa Policy
The Government’s new one-off policy is being limited to long-term migrants in the South Island. This is because South Island regions tend to have lower unemployment rates than North Island regions. Custom Logo Design Services addition, approximately half of the 3,200 long-term temporary migrants in lower-skilled occupations live in the South Island.

The Visa policy has some flexibility regarding the five-year period to ensure that workers based primarily in the South Island who have been on the North Island because of their employment are not penalized unfairly.

There will also be some leeway to ensure that those who fall just short of the five-year requirement will not be excluded from pathway application. Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

In order to ensure that the workers are meeting genuine labor market needs and potential impacts on New Zealand workers are minimized, only Essential Skills visa holders will be eligible for the visa.

I hope that this explanation of the new Visa policy helps you in your quest to become a Kiwi.

If you are interested in applying for South Island Contribution Visa to settle in New Zealand, please contact me for further details at babita@immigrationlawadvice.co.nz

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