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The Pacific Access Category and Samoan Quota Program

By Rabiah Khawaja and Vienna Tse, Cavell Leitch


The Pacific Access Category (PAC) and the Samoan Quota program (SQ) ballots are New Zealand immigration policies that allows citizens of certain Pacific Island nations to apply for residence visas in New Zealand. It's designed to strengthen ties between New Zealand and the Pacific region, offering opportunities for skilled workers and their families to live and work in New Zealand permanently. This initiative contributes to diversity and enriching the communities within New Zealand. It's a positive step towards strengthening relationships and promoting mutual growth and development.


This year, the ballots open on 20 May 2024 and close on 30 June 2024. The quota for this year includes up to 1,650 Samoan citizens, 250 Tongan and 250 Fijian citizens and 75 Kiribati and 75 Tuvaluan citizens.


The registration fee for the PAC is $85 for first time registration and $35.00 for Applicants who have previously registered. There is no fee for the SQ.


The requirements for the PAC Resident Visa typically include the following:


  • Eligible Countries: Applicants must be citizens of eligible Pacific Island countries. These countries include Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Fiji. A copy of the Applicant’s birth certificate is a mandatory requirement. For the SQ program, an Applicant must be a citizen of Samoa.

  • Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age but no older than 45 years when the registration for the ballot closes. Applicants can include their partner and child in their applications.

  • Quota System: The PAC Resident Visa operates on a quota system, meaning there are a limited number of visas available each year. Applicants need to be selected through a ballot and invited to apply for a residence visa. Those invited to apply for a resident visa have eight months to submit their application.


If invited, the selected applicant must meet the following requirements:


Health and Character Requirements: Like other New Zealand visas, Applicants must meet health and character requirements. This may include providing medical certificates and police certificates.

Location: An Applicant must apply for residence while in their home country of citizenship or while in New Zealand on a valid temporary visa.

New Zealand Job Offer: If invited to apply for residence, an Applicant must provide evidence of a current offer of full-time work that is for 12 months or more.

English Language: An Applicant must be able to speak and understand English.

Minimum Income Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents. The current minimum income threshold is $51,734.80NZD.


As immigration policies are subject to updates and revisions, it's recommended to consult the official website of Immigration New Zealand or seek advice from an immigration lawyer for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Immigration Team at Cavell Leitch.


Immigration Team at Cavell Leitch

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