19 Jul 2011

Immigration law change for religious leaders

4:55 pm on 19 July 2011

The Government has introduced changes to immigration laws that will make it easier for religious leaders to become permanent New Zealand residents.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says there was previously no residence option available to them and some communities were having trouble filling positions long-term.

Under the changes, which come into effect in November, an updated temporary visa for religious leaders will be introduced.

The temporary visa allows a person to stay for up to four years, at the end of which they can apply for residence.

More than 1100 migrant spiritual leaders were in New Zealand during the year 2009-10.