A new work permit policy came into effect on 19 December 2005 in New Zealand specifically for Samoans and Pacific Islanders.
Under the new work permit policy, people from Samoa and the four Pacific Access Category (PAC) countries of Tonga, Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati who were in New Zealand lawfully at the time were invited to apply by 31 March 2005 for residence.
The must provide evidence of a genuine offer of continued employment and they met normal residence criteria including health and character requirements. A government statement said many more residence applications were received under the residual places policies than there were places available. New Zealand is offering 1000 places under the new residual work permit category.
The decision to introduce the new Residual Places Work Permit Policy to Samoans and Pacific Islanders was to ensure they can continue to work while awaiting a decision on their residence application.
Those applicants who were granted work permits enabling them to take up their job offers until their residence application can be decided can now apply under the Pacific Quotas Residual Places Work Permit Policy to have their work permits renewed until 30 September 2006.