Get them here first, sort out the bureaucracy later

Wed, 09 Mar, 2022

“If the Government wants to support Ukrainian families in New Zealand, the Immigration Minister needs to stop getting himself bogged down with hypothetical questions and bureaucracy,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson James McDowall.

“On Radio New Zealand, the Minister indicated that a decision on what to do about Ukrainian family members would be about a week away. In the meantime, the community here in New Zealand have only hope to cling onto that their family members will be safe.

“The Minister also said on Breakfast this morning that he was “mindful of the urgency and concern that people in New Zealand have for their families in Ukraine, and obviously the situation in Ukraine is getting exponentially worse”. 

“That’s right Minister, it’s getting worse by the hour, and pondering questions such as “How long will it go? Do we offer the likes of temporary visas or is it more permanent?” is a time-wasting exercise.  ACT’s message to the Minister is to give them a lifeline now – worry about the long-term questions later.

“Let Ukrainians themselves decide if they would like to join their family members in New Zealand temporarily, or if they would like to settle here. The simple solution is for the Minister to add a line of text to the policy of the Critical Purpose Visitor Visa and fast-track applications of Ukrainian citizens. 

“He doesn’t even need to answer the refugee status question yet, because this compassionate first step would buy him the time he desires to have his endless policy meetings with officials. While he’s debating that issue with himself, Ukrainian-Kiwis’ family members can be saved.

“ACT’s view is that the Minister should allow them to apply for permanent residence once they’re here in New Zealand.”