Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Wilkie Rassmussen has announced that a Permanent Residence ceremony will be held later this year. He said there are over 150 applications already received and are being sorted out.
The limit for PRs legislated by Government is 500 and to date, 425 have been issued since 1970. That means only 75 are left to be issued.
It is understood that current holders of PRs will come up for review and some may have this privilege cancelled. Principal Immigration Officer, Tutai Toru said that a PR permit will be cancelled if a holder is absent from the Cook Islands continuosly, for a period of three years with circumstances indicating that the holder has ceased to make their home the Cook Islands. This is indicated on the PR certificate.
Toru also said that many PR holders have passed on in recent years and their names therefore need to beremoved from the list. He explained that to cancel a PR for people no longer living in the Cook Islands the Department of Immigration need to advertise the name of the person worldwide to give the person the opportunity to respond. A final list will then be handed to the Minister for cancellation.
Under the Cook Islands Entry, Residence and Departure Act 1971 - 72, New Zealand citizens residing in the country for three years OR not less than one year are eligible to apply for PR. Non New Zealand citizens who have resided 10 years OR not less than five years can also apply. Applicants must be 18 years and over to apply and be of good character.
Rasmussen said that he is considering a new category of PR for those married to Cook Islanders. He said the current Act may need to be updated to allow more PRs in the future - source CINews