According to media sources, there are easily over 30,000 people waiting to hear the outcome of residency applications. The delay has been significant, as per the Immigration New Zealand website, the processing time is 21 months, which was only nine months in 2017. I had a very happy story in migrating from Sri Lanka to New Zealand during the 2015-17 period. I think other people also deserve a similar experience. I do not believe everyone should be granted residency, nor do I believe that the citizens should not have the top priority in anything that the government does.

“A humble plea to the government on behalf of all those ‘Newcomers’ who are dreaming of settling down in Aotearoa permanently”


There is an untapped potential for the government to consider with regards to all these people who are dreaming of permanently moving into New Zealand but are currently on temporary visas such as student, post-study work visa, work visa, and many other types that are not considered as permanent. Most of these people have been trained in another country, obtained a lot of skills and experience; they are a work-ready and a highly employable group of people. The country they originate from has already invested a lot in these people; therefore, the NZ government could capitalise on this issue. This group is ready and willing to contribute to the economic growth of the country; they do not seek any other social benefits in the immediate term. If they are absorbed into the economic revival plan, the NZ government could maintain or even strengthen the social services that are available to citizens. If the government can take the necessary steps to streamline and expedite the migrating process by supporting the INZ, the anxiety levels that are not surfaced but spread all across the country as almost all of these people who are waiting onshore will drop, the productivity of the economic activity will increase. The potential they bring to this country is enormous and is timely as we all are fighting with the financial woes of a pandemic hit economy. It is a win-win situation for both the government and this group of people.

This country is known for its kindness towards people. I always think that I have migrated from one Paradise to another. Let it be a similar feeling for those who are dreaming of settling down in this beautiful land, Aotearoa…


Channa Gunasekera-Nelson