New Zealand offers visas to 4,000 Ukraine war refugees

AFP
Wellington, New Zealand Updated: Mar 15, 2022, 08:39 PM(IST)

For one year, the estimated 1,600 Ukrainian-born citizens and residents in New Zealand will be allowed to sponsor family members for the special visa, under which they will be allowed to work. Photograph:( AFP )

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Over 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, according to UN estimates

New Zealand will offer 4,000 special visas to refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine if they have family in the southern hemisphere nation, its government said Tuesday.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said it was New Zealand's largest special visa category in decades in support of an international aid effort.

Over 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, according to UN estimates.

Also read | Europe's fastest growing refugee crisis: In 20 days, 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine

"It's a two-year visa to help people escape the current conflict and to shelter here in the hope they can return home when the war ends," Faafoi said.

For one year, the estimated 1,600 Ukrainian-born citizens and residents in New Zealand will be allowed to sponsor family members for the special visa, under which they will be allowed to work.

Relatives included in the scheme include parents, grandparents and their adult siblings or adult children and their immediate family who have fled Ukraine.

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"New Zealand has moved quickly to condemn the brutal and intolerable invasion of Ukraine," the minister said.

New Zealand also announced an extra NZ$4 million (US$2.7 million) in humanitarian funding.

Watch | Ukraine Under Attack: Shelling prevents humanitarian aid from entering Mariupol

"Alongside other diplomatic measures, we have acted urgently to respond to Russia's hostility by instituting travel bans, export controls, passing the Russia Sanctions Act 2022, and providing aid funding to support crucial humanitarian work," the minister said.

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