Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Special Ukraine Visa pathway opens

The Government has announced a new residence pathway for Special Ukraine Visa holders.

Immigration Minister, Andrew Little said the pathway will be made available to Special Ukraine Visa holders where the principal applicant was granted a Special Ukraine Visa and travelled to New Zealand before 15 March 2024.

“Many of those who sought safety here in New Zealand would never have anticipated being here long term, but as war continues we have a humanitarian obligation to provide certainty to them,” said Minister Little.

“The Government’s ongoing support of Ukraine and its people demonstrates Aotearoa New Zealand’s enduring support in a rules-based international system,” said Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta.

“The conflict in Ukraine resonates deeply with us all. In launching this residence pathway, we are honouring our responsibility as global citizens, weaving together the threads of compassion, solidarity, and kaitiakitanga, affirming our commitment to support those affected,” she said.

The Special Ukraine Visa first opened for applications for 12 months from 15 March 2022, as part of the Government’s response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. It was later extended another 12 months to 15 March 2024.

“The visa allows Ukrainians with close relatives who are New Zealand citizens or residents, to come to New Zealand to shelter for two years,” Mr Little said.

“In line with similar countries who have already closed their temporary pathways, the Special Ukraine Visa will close to Expressions of Interest from new applicants after 15 March 2024.

“Special Ukraine Visa holders who are in New Zealand can continue to apply for subsequent temporary visas under the existing policy, as long as they wish to shelter here, or await the outcome of their residence application.

“We’re making it as simple as possible to apply for the residence pathway.”New Zealand is a peaceful country, and we are enriched by the Ukrainians who wish to make New Zealand their home permanently,” he said.

As at 20 August 2023, around 1,510 Special Ukraine Visas have been granted since the special category was created. Around 340 special category visa holders are in New Zealand.

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