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Immigration to finalise PR recipients

Thursday 7 July 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Local, National

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Immigration to finalise PR recipients
The Fijian community celebrate their country’s independence in 2018. A good number of Fijians residing in the Cook Islands were eligible for Permanent Residency this year. 18101478

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has confirmed it has received verbal complaints about the Permanent Residency process this year.

The ministry received a total of 88 applications for Permanent Residency (PR) as spouses of Cook Islanders and Permanent Resident and 147 applications for those who have applied in their own right.

Principal Immigration Officer Kairangi Samuela said the deadline for applications closed on Monday.

“My team filtered through many queries, we have encouraged applicants to review the criteria carefully prior to submitting their application,” Samuela said.

Samuela said all applications will be reviewed in accordance with Cook Islands Immigration Act 2021 and Cook Islands Regulations 2022, which currently have an uncapped number for spouses of Cook Islanders and Permanent residents and capped at 500 at any one time for those who apply in their own right. 

“The regulations provide guidance should the ‘own right’ application exceed the spaces available which is currently 120,” Samuela said.

“These include priority given to those who live on the Outer Islands, those who have resided the longest in the Cook Islands.”

She acknowledged that a number of verbal complaints were received regarding this process and the criteria required.

“We understand the concerns raised and perhaps these were related to time constraints and inability to meet the criteria,” Samuela said.  

“A huge issue for the community during the consultations on PR was that those applying for PR show their commitment and integration into the communities they live in and have understanding of our customs and values hence the 312 hours of community service being required and participating in the Kia Orana Values presentations.” 

Cook Islands Tourism providing the Kia orana Values presentation at no cost has been hugely appreciated, Samuela said.

Applicants are expected to be advised as of July 8 regarding the outcome of their application for PR. 

Those who are awarded PR as approved by the Minister must take the oath in front of the Queen’s Representative (QR), Sir Tom Marsters at the official PR ceremony to be held on July 15. 

“In the event the individual who is to be awarded PR is not available to take the oath in front of the QR on that date they will have an opportunity within 12 months notification or the next available opportunity to do so, until then, they will not be recognised as having received PR status,” Samuela said.

 “I would like to remind the community that the PR process will be available in the next three years, this will give potential applicants the opportunity to review the categories and criteria suitable to them and work towards that between now and the new round for permanent residence.”