7 Oct 2019

New visa scheme for parents of migrant workers

8:40 am on 7 October 2019

The government is re-opening and re-setting the visa programme for parents of migrant workers wanting to come to New Zealand.

Visa application form to travel Immigration a document Money for Passport Map and travel plan

Photo: 123RF

The visa, which applies to skilled migrants, was frozen by the National government in October 2016.

As of today, the old Parent Category scheme is gone and a new one will open in February, capping the number at 1000 people.

The financial requirements will increase and will be based on the adult child's income rather than their parents'.

The ability for a parent to gain residency through having a guaranteed lifetime income or settlement funds will be removed, but parents will still be required to meet health and character requirements.

Those with current applications pending will be able to update them and keep their current place in the queue, while those no longer eligible will be able to apply for a full refund.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway told Morning Report the visa had been reopened because it would help attract and retain highly skilled migrants who were valued in New Zealand.

However, the income criteria would change, he said.

"A single person wanting to sponsor one parent they will need to be earning twice the median income which is $104,000 a year."

The parent wouldn't need to demonstrate their own ability to support themselves, as required previously.

"What's important is the adult migrant who is sponsoring them is able to demonstrate that they have the resources to sponsor their parent."

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway in RNZ's Auckland studio.

Iain Lees-Galloway Photo: RNZ

Mr Lees-Galloway said people would still need to have been in the country for a minimum of 10 years before becoming eligible for superannuation.

Those coming under the parent category would be subject to the health and character checks just like any other migrant would.

He said these changes wouldn't mean an increase in migrant numbers.

"Amongst the residency visas that are issued in the family category, 1000 of those will be set aside for parents. So it affects the mix of people who are coming, not necessarily the number of people who are coming."

He said he was working in a government made up of three different parties and in adherence to the Coalition Agreement and Confidence and Supply Agreement.

"This government has never had a target for immigration numbers."

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