Immigration NZ’s ongoing response to Christchurch attacks
30 JULY 2019
Immigration NZ’s ongoing response to the Christchurch Mosque attacks
Since the Christchurch Mosque attacks on 15 March 2019, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has been committed to trying to relieve some of the stress and anxiety in the Christchurch Muslim community around immigration issues by providing immigration support and assistance to victims of the attacks and their families.
Through INZ’s response to the Christchurch Mosque attacks to date:
· 216 emergency visitor visas issued to family members of victims
· 102 of those issued with emergency visitor visas have been granted further visas (mainly extensions in time)
· 64 applicants have been Invited to Apply for the Christchurch response permanent residence visa following successful Expressions of Interest (EOIs)
· 6 permanent residence applications have been approved following successful EOIs.
· 15 permanent residence applications from existing residence visa holders have been approved.
· A group of licensed advisers and lawyers has been established to provide specialist immigration advice and assist the victims and their families with the application process free of charge.
INZ has also been involved in a number of community meetings, with the most recent one taking place on Saturday 27 July.
Assistant General Manager Peter Elms says INZ staff in Christchurch have been available to meet with the victims and their families since the 15 March attacks, but the meeting over the weekend was a good opportunity to meet with the Christchurch Muslim community and discuss any immigration related questions the community had.
“Around 100 people from the Muslim community attended the meeting on Saturday and we discussed a range of topics that were directly relevant to those in attendance. People are naturally interested in how they and their family members can apply under the new residence policy and what their options are if they are not eligible.
“These meetings are an important part of the relationship we have with the Muslim community. People tell me how much value they get from the face to face engagement and it’s equally valuable for us to listen to their circumstances and better understand what we can do to provide them with support.
“INZ also took the opportunity to remind the victims and their families about the group of licensed immigration advisers and lawyers that have been set up to help them assess their immigration options and eligibility, and submit an application for a Christchurch Response (2019) residence visa.
“INZ is committed to supporting the victims and their families throughout this difficult time and will continue to prioritise the processing of their applications,” Peter Elms says.