Immigration Minister streamlines Western Samoa quota scheme

  • Max Bradford

Applications for New Zealand residence under the Western Samoan Quota Scheme will in future be processed more efficiently, Immigration Minister Max Bradford announced today.

The streamlined process would provide a quicker service for genuine applicants and discourage those who did not meet the criteria for New Zealand residence, Mr Bradford said.

The Western Samoa Quota Scheme is a special migration scheme which allows up to 1100 Western Samoan citizens to be granted residence in New Zealand each year. Applicants must be aged between 18 and 45 years old, have English language ability, meet health tests and have an offer of employment in New Zealand.

Up until now the application process has been in two stages: enrolment for the quota including a job offer which is then verified by the New Zealand Immigration Service; followed by a formal application accompanied by a fee.

"It is considered that the two stage approach encourages interested applicants to enrol when they do not meet all the criteria," Mr Bradford said.

"In previous years processing all the applications has been slowed down by the many enrolments which have not met the criteria and been declined. In some cases delays in processing had meant employers could not honour their original job offer."

Quicker processing would now be made possible by combining the enrolment and formal application stages.

This means when the 1997 quota opens on June 1, Western Samoan citizens wishing to apply must provide all the required documents - including the fee and employment offer - when first making their application rather than in two stages.

"This places more responsibility on applicants to ensure they meet the quota criteria, as is the case with other immigration applicants," Mr Bradford said.

"It will also deliver a faster process for genuine applicants."

In addition, minimum levels of English language ability are to be clarified.

The Western Samoan Government was consulted about the change before it was approved by Mr Bradford.