The changes in immigration rules are aimed to address shortage of monks, priests, pastors and rabbis in New Zealand.
New immigration rules—A path to New Zealand residency--The new immigration rules will be announced by Jonathan Coleman, New Zealand immigration minister, today. The revised New Zealand temporary visa for religious workers will enable immigrants to live in the nation for a period of up to four years.
And such immigrants will also be permitted to make application for New Zealand residency. Speaking about the changes in New Zealand immigration rules, Dr. Coleman said that the changed rules are, undoubtedly, a route to becoming New Zealand residents for immigrants wanting to come to the nation as religious workers.
New Zealand residency criteria--As per the new immigration rules, religious workers fulfilling the criteria will be able to apply for New Zealand residency from November this year when the revised rules come into effect. Under the revised rules, an updated New Zealand temporary visa will be introduced for religious workers.
However, for getting New Zealand temporary visas, religious workforce will be required to get sponsorship from any religious organization demonstrating a long-term requirement for such worker. Moreover, religious workers should have previously lived in New Zealand for three years on a New Zealand temporary visa.
Shortage of religious workers in New Zealand-- There was no such option for religious workers and this was a serious concern for communities wanting to fill long-term positions of religious workers, the immigration minister added.
Religious leaders are crucial for the spiritual lives of the people of New Zealand as the nation is becoming diverse than it was around 20 years back, Coleman said.
This means increased spiritual needs for the people of New Zealand, he added.
Hence, the government invited people to give their opinion in this regard. The revision in the New Zealand immigration rules is being done after consultation with the public along with submissions from various faiths including Christian, Buddhist, Hare Krishna and Jewish.
In the year 2009/10, New Zealand had around 1,100 immigrant religious workers.