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New Zealand Considers Introducing Special Visa Scheme for Palestinians

The Government of New Zealand is considering a visa scheme similar to the one used for Ukrainians to facilitate the entry of Palestinian citizens, as reported by local media.

Presently, Palestinians can only apply for regular visitor visas to visit family members in New Zealand. Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has requested an assessment of how many Palestinians might apply for such a visa if it were introduced to allow family reunification.

No final decision has been made yet. However, this initiative is in response to advocacy from several organizations and the Labour Party, which are pushing for a humanitarian visa specifically for Palestinians, especially those from Gaza. The Labour Party previously urged the former government to create a “Special Gaza Visa” to allow Gazans with New Zealand ties to join their families.

In 2022, the Labour government introduced a Special Ukraine Visa, enabling Ukrainian nationals with connections in New Zealand to reunite with their families. Drawing on this precedent, the Labour Party is now urging the current government to adopt a similar policy for Palestinians. The Ukraine-style visa scheme aimed to provide a pathway for Ukrainian nationals with family in New Zealand to find safety and reunite with their loved ones, and advocates argue that Palestinians facing hardship should be offered the same opportunity.

Minister Stanford’s request for an assessment is a preliminary step, reflecting the government’s exploration of the feasibility and potential impact of such a visa scheme for Palestinians.

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