Immigration Minister set to expedite residence visa applications

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The Government is set to expedite thousands of residence visa applications, RNZ understands.

“That privilege of a state house has meant a lot to me and my family,” he told media.

A now-deleted page on Immigration New Zealand's website suggests the government is also creating a one-off residence visa for migrant workers.

The immigration minister has been under pressure to stall an exodus of highly skilled staff from New Zealand.

Figures early this month showed 26,000 people including nearly 3000 nurses and doctors were still waiting to apply for residence under the skilled migrant category. Expressions of interest have been stalled under the category since autumn last year.

The National Party has been calling for existing migrants to be able to settle in New Zealand after a certain number of years in the country under a "Covid contribution" pathway.

National immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford this week said the government had backed itself into a corner and would have to back out of its "immigration reset".

She noted the deleted page, and celebrated what she said was the government implementing the party's plan.

Immigration consultants have been signalling a likely increase in the number of points migrants will need for skilled migrant category (SMC) visas.