Government offers shelter for around 4000 family members of Ukrainians in NZ

  • Parents and wider family members offshore of Ukrainians in New Zealand able to come here under a new policy benefitting around 4,000 people
  • The 2022 Special Ukraine Policy will be open for one year from today and enable Ukrainian-born New Zealand citizens and residents in New Zealand to sponsor Ukrainian family members and their immediate family
  • Successful applicants will be granted a two-year work visa with work rights, and children will be able to attend school

The Government is ramping up an unprecedented scale of humanitarian support for the Ukrainian refugee crisis by introducing a new 2022 Special Ukraine Policy.

The policy will allow Ukrainian born New Zealand citizens and residents here to bring in members of their Ukrainian family whose lives are at risk due to Russia’s aggression.

More than 2 million people have fled the war in Ukraine with the United Nations Refugee Agency labelling it the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

“This is the largest special visa category we have established in decades to support an international humanitarian effort and, alongside the additional $4 million in humanitarian funding also announced today, it adds to a number of measures we’ve already implemented to respond to the worsening situation in Ukraine,” Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said.

“New Zealand has moved quickly to condemn the brutal and intolerable invasion of Ukraine. Alongside other diplomatic measures, we have acted urgently to respond to Russia’s hostility by instituting travel bans, export controls, passing the Russia Sanctions Act 2022, and providing aid funding to support crucial humanitarian work.

“Our Ukrainian community in New Zealand has also asked us to help in sheltering their family members who have been forced to flee their homes due to Russia’s unprovoked attack. We have listened, and today’s announcement will provide a pathway for their families’ safety.

“The 2022 Special Ukraine Policy will be open for a year and allow the estimated 1,600 Ukrainian-born citizens and residents in New Zealand to sponsor parents, grand-parents and adult siblings or adult children and their immediate family who are ordinarily resident in Ukraine to shelter safely here.

“It’s a two year visa to help people escape the current conflict and to shelter here in the hope they can return home when the war ends.

“This builds on previous supports we have provided through our immigration system, which included extensions for Ukrainian nationals in New Zealand whose visas expire before the end of the year, and ensuring Ukrainian citizens holding valid New Zealand visas offshore can enter immediately without waiting for our borders to reopen. 

“Successful applicants will also have work rights or study rights if they are 18 years old or younger.

”Eligible sponsors can now contact Immigration New Zealand (INZ), who will prioritise sponsorship requests and visa applications. Once visa are granted, visa holders will have nine months to travel here,” Kris Faafoi said.

Sponsors will be responsible for arranging and funding travel to New Zealand, and accommodation and living costs once in New Zealand, and the government acknowledges the commitment the Ukrainian community is making to provide such support for their loved ones.

“INZ will quickly assess the sponsorship requests and then invite visa applications. Given the situation on the ground, applications can be completed by sponsors here and there will be a streamlined process for applicants. They will need to declare that they meet health and character requirements but documentation will not be required. No fees will be charged,” Kris Faafoi said.

“New Zealand was one of the first countries to give humanitarian support to Ukrainians when Russia invaded, and these latest measures demonstrate New Zealand’s ongoing concern and compassionate approach over the suffering being caused to Ukrainians,” Kris Faafoi said.

Registration to sponsor family members can be done at: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/tools-and-information/support-family/new-temporary-visa-for-family-of-ukrainians-in-new-zealand