New Zealand opens residency program for workforce, refugees

Immigration minister says 1,500 refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq to be settled every year for next 3 years.

New Zealand opens residency program for workforce, refugees

New Zealand opened its residency program for workforce and refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, an official said on Monday.

Announcing the plan, Immigration Minister Michael Wood said eligible skilled migrants with a job or a job offer in specific roles on the Straight to Residence pathway will be able to apply for residence, both from onshore and overseas from today.

“The Straight to Residence pathway provides an incentive for migrants who have skills in hard-to-fill, nationally significant roles that New Zealand needs to speed up our economic growth,” Wood said.

“This new pathway offers potential migrants, like health practitioners, engineers, construction and infrastructure workers, and IT professionals more certainty," he said, adding this will help employers to hire people and address the shortages.

Under the Refugee Quota Program, New Zealand will also resettle 1,500 refugees each year for the next three years.

“This year, the proportion of places allocated to three of the four regions is changing to ensure we are best responding to the resettlement needs of each region. For example, we have increased the proportion of places allocated to refugees in both the Middle East and Africa from 15 to 20%," said Wood.

The country will grant residency to 200 Afghan refugees displaced after the Taliban took over control of Kabul last year.

Refugees from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan will also be resettled, according to the minister.