12 Jul 2012

NZ extends Samoan residency quota deadline

11:05 am on 12 July 2012

New Zealand is extending the deadline for Samoans to apply for residency under the special immigration quota.

Extending the quota deadline from six to eight months was agreed in Treaty of Friendship talks between the Samoan and New Zealand governments.

It aims to remedy New Zealand's failure in recent years to fill the annual quota of 1100 places.

Immigration New Zealand has fallen short of filling Samoa's quota by more than 200 places in each of the last three years.

Regional manager for the Pacific Alan Barry says the tough job market is largely to blame.

He says extending the deadline to eight months from when an application is picked from the ballot will give the person extra time to find the job offer needed to complete a residency application.

Auckland-based immigration lawyer Karl Gatoloai says the change is a big relief to his Samoan clients who've been picked in the latest ballot.

The extension also applies to the 400 places under the Pacific access quota for Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu.