Delamere And Samoan Pm Announce Revised Procedures For 1999 Samoan Quota Scheme

  • John Delamare

Immigration Minister, Hon Tuariki Delamere, and the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi have announced revised procedures for the Samoan quota scheme.

"These changes are intended to overcome recent problems for applicants who have been queuing to lodge their applications at the New Zealand High Commission in Apia, and to reduce the pressure placed on medical services in Samoa," they said.

"Having lived in Samoa for three years and seen the huge queues form as people lodge their applications, I have long felt the system was unsatisfactory. I am also anxious to ensure that Samoans see the application process as fair, transparent and equitable. I have been disturbed that some immigration consultants somehow get to the front of the queue and then lodge hundreds of applications," said Mr Delamere.

"These changes will ensure those abuses end."

(The Samoan Quota Scheme allows up to 1100 citizens to be granted residence in New Zealand each year. To qualify for residence under the Quota, the Principal Applicant must be a Samoan citizen, born in Samoa or born overseas to a Samoan citizen who was born in Samoa, and be resident in either Samoa or American Samoa at the time of application.

The Principal Applicant must be between 18 and 45, have an acceptable offer of employment, meet a minimum level of English language ability, and meet standard residence requirements including health and character.)

The changes have been agreed to by both the New Zealand and Samoan Governments.

The new procedures are as follows:

Between 3-14 May, those wishing to apply to live in New Zealand under the scheme will be invited to register for the 1999 quota. The Principal Applicant (i.e. an individual or the head of a family) will be required to complete a simple registration form. This must be posted to the NZ Immigration Service (NZIS) at P. O. Box 2277, Apia, Samoa. To be valid, there must be only one completed registration form per envelope

Only registrations sent by mail will be accepted, and these must be received by NZIS within the 3-14 May timeframe. The registration forms will be available from NZIS branches as well as various travel agencies from 15 March 1999.

On 17 May 1999, the envelopes containing the completed registration forms will be opened at random, allocated a registration number, and registered on a database. This may be carried out in the presence of Government officials.

From 20 May, those people who have registered will be advised by NZIS whether their application has been successful, put on hold, or has failed. The successful applicants with registration numbers from 1 to 300 will be invited to lodge a full application in person at the NZIS Office at the New Zealand High Commission in Apia.

The full application must be received within three months of the date that the applicant was invited to lodge it. After 3 months their registration will lapse. The full application should include birth/marriage certificates, medicals, a permanent NZ job offer, and an application fee. The full application must be lodged in person.

The NZIS will notify the Principal Applicant as to whether or not the application has been successful after verifying all the documentation, including the job offer.

In August, up to a further 300 people (i.e. registration numbers 301-600) will be invited to lodge full applications to the NZIS Office in Apia in the same manner as the first 300.

A further group of registered persons will be invited to submit full applications at a later date if places under the 1100 quota remain unallocated.