“ACT is tonight congratulating Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi for giving up on his so-called Immigration reset – but we need to be sure he’s not culling a years-long queue to simply create another one,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“After Immigration New Zealand’s website was prematurely updated today and made reference to the forthcoming “One-off 2021 Resident Visa” ACT can now reveal further details.

“The ‘One-off Residency Visa’ has Immigration NZ estimating 110,000 principal applicants, and if you include their dependents, a total estimate of 165,000 people. This will be the biggest test of the department’s capabilities yet.

“This will be welcomed by migrants and employers, but questions remain about whether the Minister is shifting his policy failures from one corner of the room to another.

“ACT has pressed the Minister to explain how Immigration New Zealand is going to process more than 11,000 expressions of interest for residency, on top of the existing residency queue. This is his solution.

“The categories of the new resident visa will be referred to as the “Three S’s and include:

1) Settled: time spent in New Zealand for current work visa holders as of 29 September (~3 years)

2) Skilled: the wage rule ($27 per hour)

3) Scarce: skills shortages (LTSSL, critical healthcare workers, education, and primary sector)

“Priority is being given to those already in the Skilled Migrant Category queue without Immigration Officer allocation, and streamlined processing suggests that this will be faster than the diabolical Skilled Migrant Category backlog.

“EOI selection for the Skilled Migrant category will remain suspended until at least July 2022. While the clearing of the decks is welcome – we call on the Government to sort out EOI selection and its new residency settings as soon as possible. Future migrants, businesses and those that will miss out tomorrow need certainty.

“ACT’s repeated questioning of Faafoi over the use of paper-based applications has also paid off, as this is going to be an online application.

“ACT has been calling the Minister out for his poor policies and piling on the pressure. We welcome this as a victory for migrants, families, employers, and the New Zealand economy as a whole.”

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