Two-hundred and forty-seven (247) people will be awarded Cook Islands permanent resident either in own right or on spouse grounds at the Are Karioi Nui/National Auditorium tomorrow morning.
They are the first cohort of people to have met the comprehensive Permanent Resident criteria under Cook Islands Immigration Regulations 2022 and have been invited to receive their PR certificates after the reciting of the Oath of Allegiance to the Cook Islands in the presence of His Excellency Sir Tom Marsters, Queen’s Representative.
According to the Ministry of Immigration, the number
includes 12 people who were approved PR by the discretion of the Prime Minister
as Minister of Immigration.
Of the 247 recipients 11 are from the outer islands with
three from Pukapuka and one from Palmerston whom due to transportation
requirements will be reciting the oath over Zoom in front of the QR next week.
Prime Minister Mark Brown approved the applications on
the recommendation of the principal immigration officer Kairangi Samuela, the
statement said. Those in the PM’s discretion show that their home is in the
Cook Islands but for various reasons including medical and educational purposes
had to be out of country for certain periods of time.
The criteria for those applying in their own right and as spouses of Cook Islanders and permanent residence included having lived continuously in the Cook Islands for at least five years or more for NZ citizens and 10 years or more for all other nationals. This also meant having spent at least nine months of each year of the relevant period in the Cook Islands, provide evidence of having completed 312 hours of community service within the relevant period, and provision of statutory declarations and character reference from the Aronga Mana of the village they live in as well as members of the community.
PM Brown said that receiving PR is a momentous
occasion and a privilege provided to non-Cook Islanders who have shown their
commitment and investment in the Cook Islands as their home either in their own
right or as spouses of Cook Islanders and PR.
“We are a small country in terms of population,” Brown
said, “and we can easily identify the contributions of PR recipients to the
Cook Islands in our business, infrastructure and social development and we also
pay homage to those who have passed on for their contributions to our
development as a nation”.
For those who for various reasons are not in country
to attend the ceremony on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Immigration will publicise the opportunity within the next 12 months for
another PR ceremony as required under the Act.
All recipients are requested to attend the dress
rehearsal for the ceremony to be held today at 1pm at the National Auditorium,
“We anticipated these numbers as it was nearly 10
years ago that we had the last permanent resident process,” said Samuela.
The Immigration Act 2021 requires that PR calls be
made every three years. The names of those who have been approved PR can be
found on the MFAI website www.mfai.gov.ck.