Due to the war in Ukraine, the New Zealand government has introduced a new type of visa for family members of Ukrainians in New Zealand who are still in Ukraine.
The new visa is called the Special Ukraine Visa and allows Ukrainians in New Zealand to bring family members who are still in Ukraine to New Zealand. At present, there are about 1600 Ukrainians living in New Zealand. In recent months, criticism on the New Zealand government has increased. Critics stated that the government did not do enough to receive Ukrainian refugees. The new visa has to change this, as it simplifies the procedure for Ukrainians to travel to New Zealand. The visa is completely free and can be applied for until 15 March 2023. To apply for the visa, a person must be sponsored by a family member in New Zealand. This is done through a so-called EOI form (Expression of Interest). If the family member in Ukraine is unable to apply for the visa him/herself, a family member in New Zealand can make the application on his/her behalf.
Special visa requirements for Ukrainians
To sponsor a family member in Ukraine, the family member must have been born in Ukraine or have (or have ever had) Ukrainian citizenship in New Zealand. The sponsor must also be a New Zealand citizen or have a valid residence permit. It is possible to sponsor the following family members in Ukraine:
- Brothers and sisters
- Adult children
However, this does not mean that only these individuals can be brought to New Zealand from Ukraine. Individuals in Ukraine who are sponsored by a family member in New Zealand may also add their immediate family members to the visa application. Thus, one sponsor can bring several family members from Ukraine.
Once the family member in New Zealand has sponsored a person in Ukraine, this person will receive a message from the New Zealand government that he or she can apply for the visa. The sponsor himself/herself will also receive an application form in case the family member in Ukraine cannot submit the application. The visa must be applied for within four months of the sponsorsʼ approval. From the moment the visa is approved, the family member in Ukraine can travel to New Zealand for the subsequent nine months.
Staying in New Zealand
Staying in New Zealand New Zealand visa upon arrival in New Zealand, which is valid for two years and allows him or her to work in the country. Family members under the age of 18 are also allowed to study in New Zealand with the visa. However, the sponsor in New Zealand is responsible for the accommodation and living expenses of family members transferred from Ukraine.
Visa extension for Ukrainians in New Zealand
The New Zealand government also announced that the visas of Ukrainians who are currently residing in New Zealand will be extended free of charge. Ukrainians who hold valid visas will also be allowed to travel to New Zealand despite the current border closure. The government has also implemented further sanctions against Russia, including a travel ban on 100 Russians linked to the Russian government.