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Assurances over New Zealanders’ travel to Britain

26 June 2008

Assurances over New Zealanders’ travel to Britain

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that New Zealanders will continue to have visa free access to the United Kingdom for visits of up to six months.

“The British Home Office has announced overnight its intention to keep the maximum visa free access for tourists at six months. This is of great significance to New Zealand travellers to the UK and follows extensive consultations with our government,” Helen Clark said.

“I have raised the issue personally with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the New Zealand High Commission in the UK made a formal submission to the Home Office. We have had a very good hearing from British ministers and officials during the consultation process. There is a great deal of goodwill towards New Zealand in Britain,” Helen Clark said.

“The British Government has been undertaking an extensive review of immigration policy. One option under consideration was to reduce the period of visa free entry from six to three months for tourist and business visitors. Another was to reduce from twelve months the period that academic visitors could remain in the UK.

“The British Government’s decision means that there will be no significant changes to the rules affecting New Zealanders.

“As well, the special provision for academic visitors to the United Kingdom to stay for twelve months has been retained. This is important for New Zealand university staff, as Britain is a destination of choice for many staff taking sabbatical leave.

“Our Government fully understands the importance of an “OE” for New Zealanders. We have made a sustained effort to maintain the good level of access our people have traditionally enjoyed to Britain, and are very pleased with the response from the British Government,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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