NZ parent visa rules 'impossible' for some in China's one-child generation

7:54 am on 8 October 2019

Members of the Chinese community say new requirements in the parent visa category will be especially hard for people from China, where a one-child policy lasted for decades.

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Photo: 123rf

The visa category, suspended by the National government in 2016, is to be reinstated from February but with a lower annual cap and significantly tougher financial requirements.

When the scheme was suspended, Auckland woman Xu Lin about to submit an expression of interest for her and her husband's parents.

Ms Xu said at first she was excited at the news the category was being reopened - but the announcement wasn't what she had been waiting for.

"When I read the news in detail, I was very angry. The financial requirements, at least for my family, are impossible to meet. I think they're also impossible for most people," she said.

The new policy requires an individual to have an annual salary of almost $160,000 to bring in both parents.

Both Ms Xu and her husband are only children, and together have four parents to look after.

Ms Xu works part time to take care of a young son, and said for her that level of income was unthinkable.

"Sometimes we need our parents to help look after our child. Our parents don't want to live here permanently. They have to adapt to a different lifestyle and their friends are all in China," Ms Xu said.

"We just hope that when it's necessary, they can stay here a bit longer. We're not thinking about taking advantage of the system. We can buy our own medical insurance for them."

For Sandy Ji, the visa requirements mean she and her husband will have to make difficult decisions.

"With limited financial ability, if we can afford to apply for residency for only one parent, it might create some conflict in the family. Even if they don't say anything. It will affect the relationship between family members," she said.

Harry Chen works as a coach driver in Auckland and said he might go back to China to stay with his parents if they can't come over.

"New Zealand economy is not going well. I'm earning less than before and the cost of living is high. Now the requirements for earnings has been raised to such a high level, I don't think me and my partner can ever get all of our parents over," he said.

New Zealand Chinese Youth Federation president James Sun said lots of its members are in their twenties or thirties, the one-child generation.

He has heard lots of complaints about the new scheme.

"Their parents, when they grow older, as according to Chinese culture, they always like this family reunion because they have no other children to support them in China - so there's another culture issue with Chinese immigrants," Mr Sun said.