Cabinet to consider extension to Special Ukraine Policy visa

Newshub can reveal Cabinet is set to consider a 12-month extension of the special Ukraine visa.

The policy allows Ukrainians living here to bring their parents and wider family into New Zealand.

It was launched three weeks after Russia's invasion as more than two million refugees fled the war-torn country. At the time, the United Nations Refugee Agency labelled it the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

The estimated 1600 Ukrainians in New Zealand piled pressure on the Government to respond and shelter their families.

The 2022 Special Ukraine Policy was expected to benefit about 4000 people and was open for a year. But it's set to expire on March 15.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood on Wednesday refused to confirm an extension was about to be considered, telling Newshub he would be making an announcement on changes "very soon".

Sources have confirmed Cabinet will be considering an extension of the visa on Monday.

The visa grants successful applicants a two-year work visa with work rights and children able to attend school.

When the policy was launched the then Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi - who has since stood down - said the visa was the largest special visa category established in decades to support an international humanitarian effort.

"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.

"This builds on previous supports we have provided through our immigration system, which included extensions for Ukrainian nationals in New Zealand whose visas expire before the end of the year, and ensuring Ukrainian citizens holding valid New Zealand visas offshore can enter immediately without waiting for our borders to reopen."