Quota registration opening delayed

The widely anticipated Samoa Quota ballot registration has been postponed, the New Zealand High Commission has confirmed.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the New Zealand Government has decided to postpone the opening of the Samoa Quota ballot registration process this year.

"New Zealand is committed to opening the Samoa Quota for registrations as soon as practicable," a statement from the High Commission said.

Each year up to 1100 Samoan, 250 Tongan and Fijian and 75 Kiribati and Tuvaluan citizens are selected by ballot to be considered to be granted residence in New Zealand.

The quota scheme recognises the special relationship between New Zealand and Samoa and other Pacific Access Category countries of Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Fiji. 

Eligible citizens of these five countries must be aged between 18 and 45 to register under the ballot.  

Currently, New Zealand's immigration services will only be processing essential visa applications amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Due to the global effects of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — and with international travel severely restricted for the foreseeable future — Immigration New Zealand will only be processing essential visa applications related to COVID-19, at this time,” a statement issued by the New Zealand Government said.

The High Commission added that as a consequence of changes to processing, certain visa schemes have been suspended until further notice.

“The visa schemes on hold include [the] Pacifica Access Category; [the] Samoa Quota ballot; Working Holiday Schemes; Expressions of Interest in the Skilled Migrant Category and the Parent Category," the High Commission statement said. 

“This is a temporary measure and will not affect the total number of people who may be eligible under these schemes when they are able to be re-opened.”

Meanwhile, holders of a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of between 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who were in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have their visas automatically extended to 25 September 2020. 

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