New Zealand eases holiday visa rules
NEW Zealand will accept people from Jersey into the country on a working holiday visa – subject to a case-by-case assessment – after the JEP lobbied for Islanders’ rights.
This newspaper reported earlier this month that Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man residents were no longer being accepted onto the country’s UK Working Holiday Visa Scheme, which allows travellers to fund their trip by working while they are away, for up to 23 months.
Scores of residents in the islands are understood to have been affected and, as a result, lost hundreds of pounds as it costs £120 to apply for a visa even if rejected.
Officials for the New Zealand High Commission in London, who were contacted by the JEP, said the country’s Immigration Office’s policy ‘remains unchanged’ for the UK Working Holiday Scheme, however they said they will ‘apply discretion’ to applications from the Channel Islands and all Crown Dependencies ‘subject to a case-by-case assessment’.
A spokeswoman for the High Commission also urged islanders who have been rejected for the UK Working Holiday Visa Scheme on the basis they do not live in the UK to reapply free of charge.
Under New Zealand’s Immigration rules, to qualify for the UK Working Holiday Visa Scheme an applicant is required to have British citizenship and to be ‘ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for a minimum of two years prior to applying’.
Jersey residents have been accepted on the scheme before. New Zealand immigration authorities said the reason Channel Islanders and residents of the Crown Dependencies were being rejected now was because they had ‘recently changed the interpretation of our instructions’ to consider that the islands are not part of the UK. Jersey has never been part of the UK.
The JEP contacted the New Zealand Immigration Office, the External Relations Department in Jersey and the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Ministry who all said they were unable to help. Dave Nurse, head of Jersey’s Customs and Immigration Service, said his officers were looking into the matter.
But now, after contacting the New Zealand High Commission in London to see why Islanders, who are British citizens, are being rejected, officials have changed their stance.
In a statement, the spokeswoman said: ‘As the Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom, applicantsGuernsey are not ordinarily eligible for the UK’s Working Holiday Scheme. However, Immigration New Zealand does expect to apply discretion in these cases, subject to a case-by-case assessment.
‘Immigration New Zealand invite any applicant from the Channel Islands, or other Crown Dependencies, who holds a British passport and has had their WHS visa declined in the last 12 months, solely on the basis of not living in the United Kingdom, to reapply. In such circumstances, Immigration New Zealand will waive the WHS application fee to enable the applicant to have their particular circumstances reviewed.’