The Parents Category Resident Visa Applications will Re-open in February 2020

The announcement that many New Zealand adult children have been eagerly waiting for has finally been made: the Government has confirmed the re-opening of the Parents category resident visa for next year.

The category is currently closed, and no expressions of interest are being accepted at the moment.

The applications will re-open in February 2020 with some key important changes:

–     Applicants will no longer have the option to apply based on their settlement funds or a guaranteed lifetime income:

Previous immigration instructions allowed applicants for this category (parents and grandparents) to apply on the basis of their lifetime income (typically their pension) or of their settlement funds. The new policy allows parents and grandparents to apply for this visa category based solely on the sponsorship of their adult New Zealand children.

–     Reduction of the Parent Category resident cap (per year):

The Parent Category residence visa is always been a capped category, but starting from next year the number of people that can get a residence visa within this category has been lowered to 1,000 (per year)

–     Increased income requirements for sponsoring children:

The income requirements that supporting children will have to meet in order to be able to sponsor their parents has been significantly increased. The income levels will be changed every year according to the New Zealand median income.

The expected minimum income levels for the year 2020 are:

·      NZD $106,080 to sponsor 1 parent

·      NZD $159,120 to sponsor 2 parents.

If the income is calculated using both the sponsor and his/her partner’s income, the minimum income that they will need to earn is expected to be:

·      NZD $159,120 to sponsor 1 parent

·      NZD $212,160 to sponsor 2 parents.

The sponsor will need to have earned this income for 2 of the 3 years before their parents’ application for residence.

–     Elimination of a double tier:

Previous instructions contemplated a double tier, instead new instructions are based on a single system.

Parents that have presented their expressions of interest and are currently waiting to be selected can choose if they want to update their EOIs to meet the new requirements, leave it in the queue as it is or withdraw it and ask for a refund.

In conclusion, the announcement of the re-opening of their residence visa category comes as a great news for those few that will be finally able to re-unite to their family. It will however leave a bitter taste in the mouth of those many migrants that will probably never be able to reach the required income threshold. Such a high sponsor’s income requirement has most likely been imposed to counterbalance the costs associated with opening the New Zealand publicly funded health system to elderly people, who are more likely to require expensive medicines and treatments.

However, if on one hand we understand the rationale behind these new requirements, we can’t help wondering if the Government has attentively evaluated the whole range of indirect economic benefits that the presence in New Zealand of migrants’ parents and grandparents can bring to the country.

In many migrant cultures parents and grandparents are the ones keeping families together and passing on cultural values and traditions to the new generations, helping to create a more stable, strong and safe community.

They help and support working parents, especially mothers of young children, who often procrastinate their return to work for years due to the lack of a valid, affordable and convenient childcare solution.

Modern parents/grandparents might be advanced in age, but they are nonetheless capable of bringing to the country assets and finances earned during a lifetime, together with help, care and support for their families and communities that, in the opinion of the writer, is invaluable.

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