More than 5,000 parents of migrants are hopeful a moratorium on parent category visas will be lifted so they can be reunited with their children in New Zealand.
Until October 2016, migrants who had obtained permanent residency and resided in NZ for at least three years were able to sponsor their parents to New Zealand under a special visa category.
However, the previous government put a moratorium on this visa, which was initially set to last for only two years, but has yet to be lifted by the new government.
The Education and Workforce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions from Immigration New Zealand on a petition to lift the moratorium on parents joining their migrant children in New Zealand.
The country’s Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, has so far refused to give a date for when a final decision would be announced.
“It’s something that’s under active consideration by the Government at present, when we’ve made a decision, we’ll make that public,” he said.
The parent program had been stopped amid claims that too many people were taking advantage of the system. However, Immigration New Zealand Policy Manager, Sian Roguski, says there is little evidence that this is the case.
“Ninety-seven per cent of those who started their sponsorship in the 2011/2012 year, while 86 per cent of those who started their sponsorship in 2003/2004 are still here,” she said.
She also revealed that after between two and five years after obtaining residency, only one per cent had accessed social benefits.
Immigration New Zealand believes that the parent visa is an important factor in attracting and retaining skilled migrants. They argue that more skilled migrants are likely to choose New Zealand over other countries if they are able to migrate with their parents.
Article published 2nd May 2019