9 Aug 2017

Record number of Samoans enter draw to become NZ residents

8:43 pm on 9 August 2017

A record 36,000 people from Samoa have this year entered a draw to become New Zealand residents.

A New Zealand passport with silver fern on a red background (file photo)

Photo: 123RF

The number of registrations has nearly doubled over four years.

A maximum of 1100 Samoans are accepted each year under a ballot run by Immigration New Zealand, alongside others run under the Pacific Access Category, including 250 people a year each from Fiji and Tonga.

Overall, about 500,000 Pacific Islanders have bid for one of the annual 1750 places in the past 15 years.

It cost applicants under the Pacific Access Category about $NZ76 to apply and about $30 to reapply.

Once a ballot place has been won, the applicant or their partner have to secure a job, and pass health and language requirements to be able to take up the residence visa.

Applications for the Samoan ballot this year jumped by almost 4000, to 14,000, equating to almost 36,000 people.

Of the 32,743 people who were eligible from those applications, 1400 were successful in the ballot.

Immigration NZ area manager Rex Heesterman said the agency believed there had been a significant increase in the number of Samoan quota applicants because of New Zealand's strong economy and family connections.

The Pacific Access Category Ballot allows up to 250 citizens of Fiji, 250 citizens of Tonga, 75 citizens of Tuvalu, and 75 citizens of Kiribati to be granted residence in New Zealand each year.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs