Christchurch terror attack: Families offered option to stay permanently

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People directly affected by the Christchurch terror attack can now apply to stay in New Zealand permanently.

Immigration New Zealand has created a special visa category for those directly impacted by the shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood mosque, as well as their families.

The government says the Christchurch Response 2019 category has been created to realise the impact of the tragedy and to give people currently on temporary and resident visas some certainty.

Applications can be made from tomorrow by anyone who was present at either mosque during the attacks and their immediate families.

The special circumstances mean the definition of "immediate family" also includes dependent children, someone's partner's parents and grandparents of children under 25.

Immigration NZ, on their website, state they will confirm those present at the mosque attacks by checking police records.

The exceptions to the visa are if the applicant was a police first responder or emergency worker, in the country as a tourist, or was only visiting for a short time.