Govt must extend Samoa visa changes to all Pacific countries

Thanks to Green Party pressure, visitors from Samoa can soon travel to Aotearoa without a visa – a right that should be extended to every Pacific country.

“The Minister’s decision to grant visa-waivers to frequent visitors from Samoa should be immediately followed by granting all Pacific countries a broad visa-free right to come to Aotearoa,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for pacific peoples, Teanau Tuiono.

Immigration Minister, Michael Wood today confirmed that he plans to change visa rules so people travelling from Samoa can come to Aotearoa without a visa.

“For far too long, Immigration NZ has rejected visa applications from the Pacific, preventing people from visiting family - often on the basis that it thinks people might want to stay in Aotearoa long-term. This is quite frankly, racist. So, if this Government really believes what it says when it talks about Aotearoa New Zealand as part of a family of Pacific nations, it needs to update visa rules immediately to better reflect Pacific values.

Green Party immigration spokesperson Ricardo Menéndez March added: 

“The Greens first wrote to the Minister in June calling for improved visitor access from the Pacific and have been putting pressure on ever since, including with questions in Parliament. It makes no sense that someone from the Pacific faces significantly more barriers to visit their family than someone from the US, UK or Canada,”

“Thanks to this pressure from the Green Party, the Government is finally taking action to remove the colonial hoops that have made it hard for Pacific peoples to visit whānau in Aotearoa.

“With data suggesting that Pacific people are disproportionately prevented from visiting Aotearoa, the next step is to immediately grant visa-waiver status to all Pacific countries,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

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