Connect with us

Government

U.S. Applications for New Zealand Citizenship Jump 70 Percent

Published

on

expected
  • U.S. Applications for New Zealand Citizenship Jump 70 Percent

Wellington, New Zealand (AP) -It’s one thing to talk about changing allegiance to another country when a new president is elected. It’s another thing to go ahead and do it.

But that’s exactly what seems to be happening, at least in one distant corner of the world.

In New Zealand, the number of Americans who applied for a grant of citizenship rose by 70 percent in the 12 weeks following the election of President Donald Trump when compared to the same period a year earlier, immigration records obtained by The Associated Press show.

Figures also show the number of Americans who obtained a New Zealand work visa in January was up 18 percent from a year earlier, as was the number of Americans who visited the country.

In New Zealand, a grant of citizenship is the pathway for people without a family connection. Among those Americans with a New Zealand parent, citizenship applications after the election were up 11 percent from a year earlier.

In response to an AP freedom of information request, New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs said that in the two days after the U.S. election in November, the number of Americans who visited its website to find out about citizenship was up more than tenfold from the same two weekdays a month earlier.

To be sure, the total number of Americans applying for New Zealand citizenship remains relatively low. The country is more than 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) from the mainland U.S. and is perhaps best known for its majestic landscapes. Farming remains central to the economy, with sheep outnumbering the 4.8 million people by about six to one.

Trump made a brief reference to the country during the election campaign when a New Zealand television reporter asked him what the election would mean for the South Pacific country.

“Say hello to Bob Charles. I love Bob Charles,” Trump replied. “Do you know who Bob Charles is? Your greatest golfer.” Charles won the British Open in 1963.

Some Americans living in New Zealand say their friends and family have been asking them about moving there since the election.

Alanna Irving, 33, a technology startup entrepreneur from San Francisco, moved to New Zealand six years ago and has since married a kiwi, as the locals are known.

“It’s an extremely livable place and you can see and palpably feel the difference in how society is organized, and what people prioritize,” she said. “New Zealand is a place that cares about equality, I think more. It’s less individualistic, more community-minded.”

She said that a friend of a friend was so disturbed by the outcome of the election that he immediately jumped on a plane and flew to New Zealand to check it out as a possible place to live. Irving said his visit exceeded his expectations.

“So that was really symbolic to me that there were people in the United States who feel like things are going in a very different direction than they want for their future, or for their children, and they’re looking to New Zealand as perhaps an alternative,” she said.

Most Americans who apply for New Zealand citizenship must first live in the country for five years.

Cameron Pritchard, an immigration consultant at Malcolm Pacific Immigration in Wellington, said the increase in citizenship applications could be a result of people wanting to feel more settled in their adopted country, given the uncertain nature of the world.

It’s about “getting a bit more security or really making a longer-term decision that New Zealand is the place they want to call home,” he said.

He said his company noticed a big spike in inquiries from the U.S. during the election.

“It’s been more of a flurry of excitement initially than anything that’s translated into a huge avalanche of numbers,” he said.

Irving said she plans to apply for New Zealand citizenship this year and doesn’t foresee ever returning to live in the U.S. She said she misses the excitement that some U.S. innovators and companies can offer, although technology allows her to stay connected with that world.

But, she added, there’s one thing she misses that can’t be replicated online: The great Mexican food that’s available in the U.S.

By the numbers:

Americans applying for New Zealand citizenship by grant:

Nov. 8, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2017: 170

Nov. 8, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016: 100

Americans applying for New Zealand citizenship by descent:

Nov. 8, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2017: 203

Nov. 8, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016: 183

Citizenship-related visits to Department of Internal Affairs website from the U.S.:

Nov. 8 to Nov. 10, 2016: 4,146

Oct. 4 to Oct. 6, 2016: 305

Work-visa arrivals from the U.S.:

Jan. 2017: 254

Jan. 2016: 216

Visitor arrivals from the U.S.:

Jan. 2017: 34,240

Jan. 2016: 28,992

Source: Department of Internal Affairs, Statistics New Zealand

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

Continue Reading
Comments

Government

Concerns Mount Over Security as National Identity Card Issuance Shifts to Banks

Published

on

NIMC enrolment

Amidst the National Identity Management Commission’s (NIMC) recent announcement that the issuance of the proposed new national identity card will be facilitated through applicants’ respective banks, concerns are escalating regarding the security implications of involving financial institutions in the distribution process.

The federal government, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), introduced a new identity card with payment functionality, aimed at streamlining access to social and financial services.

However, the decision to utilize banks as distribution channels has sparked apprehension among industry stakeholders.

Mr. Kayode Adegoke, Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, clarified that applicants would request the card by providing their National Identification Number (NIN) through various channels, including online portals, NIMC offices, or their respective banks.

Adegoke emphasized that the new National ID Card would serve as a single, multipurpose card, encompassing payment functionality, government services, and travel documentation.

Despite NIMC’s assurances, concerns have been raised regarding the necessity and security implications of introducing a new identity card system when an operational one already exists.

Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, questioned the rationale behind the new General Multipurpose Card (GMPC), citing NIMC’s existing mandate to issue such cards under Act No. 23 of 2007.

Ogunbanjo highlighted the successful implementation of MobileID by NIMC, which has provided identity verification for over 15 million individuals.

He expressed apprehension about integrating the new ID card with existing MobileID systems and raised concerns about data privacy and unauthorized duplication of ID cards.

Moreover, stakeholders are seeking clarification on the responsibilities for card blocking, replacement, and delivery in case of loss or theft, given the involvement of multiple parties, including banks, in the issuance process.

The shift towards utilizing banks for identity card issuance raises fundamental questions about data security, privacy, and the integrity of the identification process.

With financial institutions playing a pivotal role in distributing sensitive government documents, there are valid concerns about potential vulnerabilities and risks associated with this approach.

As the debate surrounding the security implications of the new national identity card continues to intensify, stakeholders are calling for greater transparency, accountability, and collaboration between government agencies and financial institutions to address these concerns effectively.

The paramount importance of safeguarding citizens’ personal information and ensuring the integrity of the identity verification process cannot be overstated, especially in an era of increasing digital interconnectedness and heightened cybersecurity threats.

Continue Reading

Government

Israeli President Declares Iran’s Actions a ‘Declaration of War’

Published

on

Israel Gaza

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has characterized the recent series of attacks from Iran as nothing short of a “declaration of war” against the State of Israel.

This proclamation comes amidst escalating tensions between the two nations, with Iran’s aggressive actions prompting serious concerns within Israel and the international community.

The sequence of events leading to Herzog’s grave assessment began with a barrage of 300 ballistic missiles and drones launched by Iran towards Israel over the weekend.

While the Israeli defense forces managed to intercept a significant portion of these projectiles, the sheer scale of the assault sent shockwaves through the region.

President Herzog’s assertion of war was underscored by Israel’s careful consideration of its response options and ongoing discussions with its global partners.

The gravity of the situation prompted the convening of the G7, where member nations reaffirmed their commitment to Israel’s security, recognizing the severity of Iran’s actions.

However, the United States, a key ally of Israel, took a nuanced stance. President Joe Biden conveyed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that, given the limited casualties and damage resulting from the attacks, the US would not support retaliatory strikes against Iran.

This position, though strategic, reflects a delicate balancing act in maintaining stability in the volatile Middle East region.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian cautioned against further escalation, emphasizing the potential for heightened tensions and provocative acts to exacerbate the situation.

In response to the escalating crisis, the Nigerian government issued a call for restraint, urging both Iran and Israel to prioritize peaceful resolution and diplomatic efforts to ease tensions.

This appeal reflects the broader international consensus on the need to prevent further escalation and mitigate the risk of a wider conflict in the Middle East.

As Israel grapples with the implications of Iran’s aggressive actions and weighs its response options, President Herzog reiterated Israel’s commitment to peace while emphasizing the need to defend its people.

Despite calls for restraint from global allies, Israel remains vigilant in safeguarding its security amidst the growing threat posed by Iran’s belligerent behavior.

The coming days are likely to be critical as Israel navigates the complexities of its response while international efforts intensify to defuse the escalating tensions between Iran and Israel.

The specter of war looms large, underscoring the urgency of diplomatic engagement and concerted efforts to prevent further escalation in the region.

Continue Reading

Government

NIMC Announces Launch of Three National ID Cards to Boost Identity Management

Published

on

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has unveiled plans to launch three new national identity cards.

These cards are aimed at providing improved access to government services and bolstering identification systems across Nigeria.

The three new national identity cards, as disclosed by Ayodele Babalola, the Technical Adviser, Media, and Communications to the Director-General of NIMC, will include a bank-enabled National ID card, a social intervention card, and an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card.

Babalola explained that these cards are tailored to meet the diverse needs of Nigerian citizens while fostering greater participation in nation-building initiatives.

In an interview, Babalola outlined the timeline for the rollout of these cards, indicating that Nigerians can expect to start receiving them within one or two months of the launch, pending approval from the Presidency.

The bank-enabled National ID card, designed to cater to the middle and upper segments of the population, will offer seamless access to banking services within the specified timeframe.

Also, the National Safety Net Card will serve as a crucial tool for authentication and secure platform provision for government services such as palliatives, with a focus on the 25 million vulnerable Nigerians supported by current government intervention programs.

This initiative aims to streamline the distribution process and ensure efficient delivery of social services to those in need.

Furthermore, the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card will provide an optional identity verification solution, facilitating cross-border interactions and promoting regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The announcement comes on the heels of NIMC’s collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to develop a multipurpose national identity card equipped with payment capabilities for various social and financial services.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of key stakeholders to foster innovation, cost-effectiveness, and competitiveness in service delivery.

Babalola stated that the new identity cards aim to address the need for physical identification, empower citizens, and promote financial inclusion for marginalized populations. With a target of providing these cards to approximately 104 million eligible applicants on the national identification number database by the end of December 2023, NIMC is poised to revolutionize the identity management landscape in Nigeria.

The implementation of these programs aligns with broader efforts to drive digital transformation and improve access to essential services for all Nigerians.

Babalola highlighted the multifaceted benefits of the new identity cards, including their potential to uplift millions out of poverty by facilitating access to government social programs and financial services.

While the launch date is set tentatively for May pending presidential approval, NIMC remains committed to finalizing the necessary details to ensure a smooth rollout of the new identity cards.

The introduction of these cards represents a significant step forward in NIMC’s mission to provide secure and reliable identity solutions that empower individuals and contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Efforts to reach Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, for further insights on the initiative were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

As Nigeria gears up for the launch of these innovative identity cards, stakeholders express optimism about the potential positive impact on identity management, financial inclusion, and socio-economic development across the country.

Continue Reading
Advertisement




Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending