16 June 2010

Government may ease New Zealand immigration for religious workers

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The Government is reviewing New Zealand immigration policies for religious workers in response to the country’s growing ethnic diversity.

New Zealand Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says the move follows feedback from communities about the difficulties they face in finding religious leaders and workers willing to come to the country long term.

Dr Coleman says it is important communities can have access to the religious workers they need, even more so as New Zealand becomes more ethnically diverse.

Currently, there are only around 10 religious workers granted residencies each year.

Dr Coleman says many religious leaders are granted only a temporary New Zealand Work Permit.

"We're looking at whether it meets the needs of communities to get these people here for the longer term."

Members of the public are able to make submissions about the issue to the government until 16 July.

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