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Immigration NZ helping families sort visas after mosque attacks - 'Let's take that stress away from you'

Immigration New Zealand is appealing for family members of Christchurch mosque shooting victims to come forward so it can ensure their visas will allow them to stay in the country, and says it's facilitating the travel of victims' relatives to New Zealand.

Peter Elms of Immigration NZ says all visas currently in place still stand. 

But some visas are linked to the "primary applicant" and that person may well have tragically died in last Friday's terror attack at two mosques. 

"So those people will want to get surety about their own individual status. And that's why we want them to come forward so that we can transfer their visa, put in place an appropriate visa and give them that surety," Mr Elms told media in Christchurch this afternoon. 

"What I'd say to the community out there - come forward, let's talk, let's put you on a visa, let's give you the surety and the confidence going forward. And let's take that stress away from you at this very anxious time," he said.

Mr Elms said many of the Muslim community are New Zealand citizens or residents, but some are here on temporary visas or visas associated with deceased people.

"The last thing they need is immigration worries on top of everything else that's going on. I  implore people to come forward and make contact with us."

Immigration NZ has set up direct lines and email addresses on on its website for victims' families, or they could make contact through Victim Support or police.

Meanwhile, as of this morning, 129 visas had been issued to family members of victims to travel to New Zealand and a further 32 applications received in last 24 hours are being processed, Mr Elms said. 

He said the emergency visa process is working very well and the department is turning round applications in 24 hours or less. 

Last Friday's attack left 50 people dead and another 50 injured.

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Peter Elms of Immigration NZ says some visas are linked to a 'primary applicant' who may have died in the attacks. Source: 1 NEWS