New Zealand may become the first nation in the world to launch the climate immigration visa. It could recognize the change in climate as a valid reason for receiving residency. This was revealed by one of the ministers of the newly formed government of New Zealand.
The new category of climate immigration visa is being considered by the government. It will be available for climate change displaced Pacific Islanders. Upon implementation, the new category of visa will offer 100 visas annually on humanitarian grounds. It will be on a pilot basis and unprecedented for any nation in the world, as quoted by the PRI Org.
The proposal by New Zealand is the first such instance for any developed nation. It plans to address the intercontinental legal protection gap through a regional agreement for the visa. James Shaw Climate Change Minister of New Zealand revealed this proposal in an interview with Radio New Zealand. He said that this is aimed to be achieved in agreement with Pacific Islands.
Several questions have been raised by the proposal for climate immigration visa. Very few cases of climate immigration have come up in courts in New Zealand in the last 10 years. However, the 100 visas per year are doubtful of meeting the demands in future.
It has also been questioned regarding the ability of these visa recipients to return home. The prospect of this experimental visa becoming a model for other nations is also being discussed.
There are certain countries in the Pacific such as Kiribati that will accept the visa proposal as a sign of regional solidarity. Freshwater contamination and coastal erosion have already threatened the lives of 110,000 nationals of Kiribati. The altitude of the most of the islands of the nation is very low. It is on an average 6 feet above sea level.
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