Automatic residency for victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings and their families is being looked at, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says.
Immigration New Zealand has already said visa processing for the families of those killed or injured in Friday’s attacks was being prioritised.
Canterbury College international school in Christchurch, which lost staff member Haroon Mahmood in the shootings, backed a call by former immigration minister Tuariki Delamere for victims and their families to be given automatic residency.
College director Sueanne Wong said: “We too call on the Government to initiate and declare this now. There has been enough suffering by these innocents without the anxiety of not knowing about their imminent future. To do otherwise would be cruel and negligent.
“‘They are us’ has been universally accepted as true. We should make that official as soon as possible,” she said in a statement.
Lees-Galloway said the issue of automatic residency was being considered.
“There are a number of matters that have been raised by these unprecedented events. We’re turning our mind to all of these issues,” he said today.
Any decisions would be announced in the near future.
Delamere, in an open letter to Lees-Galloway, suggested residency should be granted to all affected families which had already applied and it should be offered to those who had not yet done so.
He and most New Zealanders believed the people killed in the attacks died as New Zealanders.
“To not offer the victims’ families the grant of residence will just give the murderer another reason to celebrate his evil,” Delamere said.
Many of the 50 people killed were foreign nationals with families here on temporary visas.
Migrants from Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, India, Jordan, Saudi Arabia are believed to be among those killed, injured or missing.