As I was writing my last post (about getting permanent residency in New Zealand), I ran across a timely article in The Atlantic:
I loved the questions at the end:
What does it mean to be a citizen? Is citizenship a kind of subscription service, to be suspended and resumed as our needs change? Are countries competing service providers, their terms and conditions subject to the ebbs and flows of consumer preference?
On another part of the spectrum, I’ve been fascinated by the case of Shamina Begum in Syria… what if you could be stripped of your only citizenship, becoming, as they say, “stateless”?
Again, I’m very grateful to have options.
On the 20th of February, I got an email from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) informing me that they’d approved our application to become permanent residents. I’m super relieved as this was kind of hanging over us for a while, even though there was very little chance that it would not work out in our favor.
Here’s what permanent residency means for us [I’m not an immigration consultant blah blah legal disclaimer check INZ’s website for the latest and greatest info]:
- We can now vote;
- Our continued existence here is no longer tied to my current job (not that I’m interested in quitting, it’s just nice to know I’m not stuck if it ever ceases to be a good fit);
- I can now do jobs on the side (this wasn’t permitted on my specific work visa)
- We can get credit cards (not to carry a balance, but to get cash back on all our purchases!);
- We can buy a house (not that we can currently afford any houses we’d want to live in, it’s just that the new government here recently passed a law that foreigners cannot buy existing houses, only build new ones… and even before that law changed, banks wouldn’t give us a mortgage unless we were residents anyway);
- We can go to school (we weren’t allowed to study for more than 3 months on our work visas before)…
- …at local tuition rates (which are ~1/3 of the rates for foreigners, this number varies a lot depending on which program and which university);
- We qualify for KiwiSaver, NZ’s retirement plan (employers are required by law to match employee contributions up to 3% for employees who opt into the KiwiSaver plan, so I’m signing up right away. And yes, if you leave the country you get to take your KiwiSaver funds with you); and
- We’re pretty sure Scott’s existence here is no longer tied to our relationship… though we have no plans to test that out 🙂
The “permanent” part of our residency means that we can Continue reading “We are now officially permanent residents of New Zealand + some thoughts on global mobility”