- This is not current immigration instructions -
S1.40 Pacific Access Category (29/11/2010)
The Pacific Access Category allows up to 250 citizens of Tonga, 75 citizens of Tuvalu, and 75 citizens of Kiribati, (including the partners and dependent children of principal applicants under the Category), to be granted residence class visas in New Zealand each year.
S1.40.5 Criteria for a resident visa
- To qualify for a resident visa under the Pacific Access Category, the principal applicant must:
- be a citizen of Tonga, Tuvalu, or Kiribati; and
- have their Pacific Access Category registration drawn from the relevant Tonga, Tuvalu, or Kiribati pool of the Pacific Access Category; and
- lodge their application for a resident visa under the Pacific Access Category within six months of written advice from INZ that their registration has been drawn from the relevant Tonga, Tuvalu, or Kiribati pool of the Pacific Access Category; and
- have been aged between 18 and 45 inclusive at the registration closing date; and
- have an acceptable offer of employment or have a partner, included in the application, who has an acceptable offer of employment (see S1.40.30 below); and
- (if they have dependent children) meet the minimum income requirement set out at S1.40.35 below; and
- meet a minimum level of English language ability (see S1.40.45 below); and
- meet health and character requirements (see A4 and A5).
- Principal applicants who are citizens of Tonga must be:
- either in Tonga or lawfully in New Zealand at the time their application under the Pacific Access Category is made; and
- must have been born in Tonga or born overseas to a Tongan citizen who was born in Tonga.
- Principal applicants who are citizens of Kiribati must be:
- either in Kiribati or Fiji or lawfully in New Zealand at the time their application under the Pacific Access Category is made; and
- must have been born in Kiribati or born overseas to a Kiribati citizen who was born in Kiribati.
- Principal applicants who are citizens of Tuvalu must be:
- either in Tuvalu or Fiji or lawfully in New Zealand at the time their application under the Pacific Access Category is made; and
- must have been born in Tuvalu or born overseas to a Tuvaluan citizen who was born in Tuvalu.
- Partners and dependent children included in applications under the Pacific Access Category must also meet health and character requirements (see A4 and A5).
- An immigration officer may extend the six-month time frame referred to in paragraph (a)(iii) if the officer believes the special circumstances of the applicant justify such an extension.
- The Regional Manager (Pacific Region) of Service Delivery may extend the six-month time frame referred to in paragraph (a)(iii) in relation to a class of applicants if the Regional Manager believes the special circumstances of the class of applicants justify such an extension.
S1.40.10 Registration process for principal registrants
- Principal registrants may register for entry into the relevant Tonga, Tuvalu, or Kiribati pool of the Pacific Access Category within a set registration period. The dates of the registration period will be announced each year prior to the registration opening.
- Principal registrants must be aged between 18 and 45 inclusive at the registration closing date for their registration to be accepted into the ballot.
- Registrations must be made on the Registration Form for Pacific Access Category, available on the INZ website (www.immigration.govt.nz) or from branches of INZ.
- Registrations must be submitted during the registration period to the appropriate receiving office specified on the Registration Form for Pacific Access Category.
- Registrations will be accepted for entry into the ballot only if they are fully completed, signed by the principal registrant, and accompanied by any documents or evidence as required by the registration form.
- A fee is payable for registration. Payment must be made in a manner specified on the Registration Form for Pacific Access Category.
- Any registrants who have previously overstayed in New Zealand, but have departed voluntarily, and do not have a removal or deportation order in force in respect of them, can register under the Pacific Access Category.
- Any registrants included in a registration must either:
- be in New Zealand lawfully at the time the registration is made; or
- be offshore at the time the registration is made.
S220.127.116.11 Definition of 'principal registrant'
The principal registrant is the person who is declared to be the principal registrant on the registration application form and who intends to be the principal applicant of any resulting residence class visa application.
S1.40.15 Inclusion in registration of immediate family members of the principal registrant
- Where the principal registrant has a partner and/or dependent children all of those people must be included in the registration.
- If a registration is successful in the pool draw, only a partner and/or dependent children included in the registration may be included in the resulting application for a resident visa under the Pacific Access Category. This limitation applies despite R2.1 concerning the inclusion of family members in an application.
- Any partner and/or dependent children who were eligible for inclusion in the registration but were not included must not subsequently be granted a residence class visa under the Partnership or Dependent Child Categories.
- Nothing in (b) or (c) above means that a partner or dependent child who was included in the registration but not in the resulting application for a resident visa may not subsequently be granted a residence class visa as a principal applicant under those Family Categories.
Note: Notwithstanding (b) above, in the event that an applicant includes any partner and/or dependent children in their application who were not included in their registration, officers should not apply the limitation referred to in (b) without first providing the principal applicant an opportunity to explain the non-declaration in accordance with R5.15 Explaining discrepancies in family details.
Note: Where a person not eligible to be included at the time of registration is eligible at the time of application for a resident visa, such as a newborn child, they may be included in the resident visa application as long as R2.1 is met.
S1.40.20 Number of registrations that may be lodged
Registrants must lodge (or be included in) only one registration within the registration period. If a registration is lodged that includes registrants who are already included in a registration accepted by INZ, the subsequent registration(s) will not be accepted.
S1.40.25 Selection process following closure of registration
- INZ will conduct an electronic draw as soon as practicable after the closure of the registration period.
- Registrations will be randomly drawn from the pool of registrations, until the appropriate number of potential registrants to meet the various quotas of available places within the annual period has been drawn.
- Principal registrants whose registrations have been drawn from the various pools will be notified by INZ in the month following the draw that their registration has been successful and that they must lodge a full application under the Pacific Access Category to the appropriate receiving office of INZ not more than six months after the date of that advice.
- Principal registrants who are unsuccessful in the registration process within a particular registration period are able to re-register within subsequent registration periods at a reduced fee.
S1.40.30 Acceptable offers of employment
- Acceptable offers of employment may be in either a skilled or unskilled occupation but must be for ongoing and sustainable employment. Ongoing and sustainable employment is employment with a single employer:
- in a job which is permanent, or indefinite, and of which the employer is in a position to meet the terms specified; or
- for a stated term of at least twelve months with an option for the employee of further terms, and of which the employer is in a position to meet the terms specified.
Note: When assessing whether employment is sustainable, officers may consider, but are not limited to, such factors as the residence status of the employer, the period for which the employing organisation has been established as a going concern, and the financial sustainability of the employing organisation.
- Acceptable offers of employment must also be:
- for full-time employment (employment is full-time if it amounts to, on average, at least 30 hours per week) unless S18.104.22.168 (c) applies; and
- current at the time of assessing the application and at the time of grant the visa; and
- genuine; and
- for a position that is paid by salary or wages (ie, positions of self-employment, payment by commission and/or retainer are not acceptable); and
- accompanied by evidence of professional or technical registration if this is required by law to take up the offer; and
- compliant with all relevant employment law in force in New Zealand.
Note: Compliance with relevant New Zealand employment law includes but is not limited to:
~ a written employment agreement that contains the necessary statutory specified terms and conditions
~ paying employees no less than the appropriate adult or youth minimum wage
~ meeting holiday and special leave requirements and other minimum statutory criteria
~ meeting occupational safety and health obligations.
- If the principal applicant has dependent children, the offer of employment must also meet the minimum income requirement set out at S1.40.35 below.
S1.40.35 Minimum income requirement
- Principal applicants with dependent children must show that they will meet the minimum income requirement if they come to New Zealand, which is intended to ensure they can support themselves and their dependent children.
- The gross minimum income requirement is $30,556.24. This is based on the Unemployment Benefit (married and civil union rate) plus the maximum Accommodation Supplement (as set by the New Zealand Government).
- The minimum income requirement must be derived from the acceptable offer of employment - see S1.40.30.
S22.214.171.124 Ability to include the partner's income as part of the minimum income requirement
- If both the principal applicant and their partner included in their application have an acceptable offer of employment in New Zealand, both of their wages or salaries may be taken into account when determining if the minimum income requirement is met.
- In such cases the partner's employment and income will only be taken into account, if at the time the application is assessed, an immigration officer is satisfied the principal applicant and partner have been living together for 12 months or more in a partnership that is genuine and stable - see R126.96.36.199(b) and R188.8.131.52(a)(i).
- Where the employment (and income) of both the principal applicant and their partner is used to meet the minimum income requirement, both offers of employment must meet all the requirements in S1.40.30, except that only one has to meet the requirement that the offer be for full-time employment.
S1.40.40 Evidence of employment offer
- Evidence of an offer of employment is original or certified copies of the following documents:
- a written offer of employment; and
- a detailed job description; and
- a letter from the employer stating whether or not any occupational registration is required by law for the principal applicant to take up the position; and
- an employment agreement entered into by the employer and the principal applicant, stating:
- the terms of employment; and
- the hours of work; and
- the period during which employment may begin.
- Additional evidence may include, but is not limited to:
- any information requested by INZ; and
- the results of any verification undertaken by INZ; and
- information from the employer or recruitment agency.
S1.40.45 Minimum English language requirement
- Immigration officers determine whether principal applicants meet the minimum English language requirement by assessing whether they are able to:
- read English; and
- understand and respond to questions in English; and
- maintain an English language conversation about themselves, their family or their background.
S1.40.50 Determining applications
- Immigration officers must sight the original job offer and verify that it is genuine and current by checking:
- directly with the employer; or
- through the nearest branch office of INZ to the employer in New Zealand; or
- by some other appropriate arrangement.
- Immigration officers must assess the applicant's English language ability against the criteria at S1.40.45 above.
S1.40.55 Grant of visas
- If an application for a resident visa under the Pacific Access Category is approved and the applicant is in New Zealand lawfully, a resident visa will be granted.
- If an application for a resident visa under the Pacific Access Category is approved and the applicant is in Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Fiji, the principal applicant will be granted a resident visa with travel conditions allowing first entry within three months, while the partner and dependent children will be granted resident visas with travel conditions allowing first entry within 12 months.