No decision yet on N.Z. Samoa Quota Scheme
The New Zealand Government has yet to decide on how they will proceed with the Samoa Quota Scheme after deferring ballot registrations in April soon after the outbreak of COVID-19.
A spokesperson for the New Zealand Government told the Samoa Observer that no further decisions have been announced yet regarding the opening of the Samoan Quota scheme since that postponement.
The Samoa Observer contacted the New Zealand High Commission after receiving inquiries from members of the public about the quota which grants 1,100 Samoan citizens residency in New Zealand each year.
Inquiries were sent to New Zealand Immigration for a response.
“No further decisions have been announced yet regarding the opening of the Samoan Quota scheme,” a spokesperson said.
“The New Zealand Government wants to provide as much certainty as possible, however it is not practical to set new quota numbers while the New Zealand border remains closed.”
New Zealand’s Immigration policy recognises the special relationship between New Zealand and Samoa as expressed in the Treaty of Friendship between the two nations.
“Due to COVID-19, New Zealand’s border restrictions remain in place for most travellers apart from New Zealand citizens and residents and people who have been granted an exception to travel to New Zealand (including Samoan citizens who have been granted a border exception for essential travel),” the spokesperson said.
“These restrictions are in place to protect the health of people in New Zealand and remain crucial as COVID-19 continues to spread overseas.”
Ballot registrations for the Samoa Quota Scheme were deferred in April.
No citizens were granted residence under the quota for 2020.
“In April 2020, the New Zealand Government deferred ballot registrations for the Samoan Quota scheme until further notice due to the impacts of COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.
“Because the 2020 Samoan Quota scheme was deferred before any ballot registrations were received, no Samoan citizens have been granted residence under the quota for 2020.”
However, some Samoan citizens who were granted residence visas as a result of Samoa Quota scheme residence visa applications they made in previous years, have been able to travel to New Zealand during 2020, the spokesperson said.
“No further decisions have been announced yet regarding the opening of the Samoan Quota scheme. The New Zealand Government wants to provide as much certainty as possible, however it is not practical to set new quota numbers while the New Zealand border remains closed,” the spokesperson noted.