Release: Visas needed for Palestinians with family in New Zealand

The Government must show some compassion and create a special visa to allow Palestinians with family in New Zealand to be reunited with them here.

“The Coalition Government has tools it can use to help those in Gaza, but is claiming visas will only create false hope,” said Labour immigration spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“It’s about choices: the Government can use all channels to help people trapped in Gaza reunite with family here or twiddle their thumbs and say it’s too hard. They’ve clearly chosen the latter.

“New Zealand must use all the diplomatic tools it can to allow those in Gaza with New Zealand visas to leave Gaza.

“The right thing to do is to create a Special Gaza Visa, and have our diplomats make every effort to get people out.

“Gaza is a living hell right now because of the Israeli onslaught. Kiwis with families trapped in the warzone are distraught, and many have already had family members killed by Israel’s military action.

“In 2022, the Labour Government created a Special Ukraine Visa that allowed hundreds of Ukrainian nationals with family in New Zealand to reunite with family and offer a safe haven from the illegal invasion by Russia.

“We did it because it was the right thing to do. Palestinians with family here deserve the same support to escape conflict as Ukrainian nationals.”

  • As of 11 March 2024, around 1,879 Special Ukraine Visas have been granted since the special category was created.
  • People have entered New Zealand 958 times on a Special Ukraine Visa, noting this will include people who have who have left New Zealand, and re-entered, on one or several occasions.
  • A number of special category visa holders are yet to arrive in New Zealand, and some have arrived but subsequently left or moved to other visas.
  • A new Ukraine Resident Visa allows those with a 2022 Special Ukraine Visa, their partners and children to live, work and study in New Zealand permanently.

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