The immigration Minister announced today the Government has decided to reopen the Parent resident visa category in early February 2020 with new requirements. The first selection is scheduled for May 2020. In the meantime, the category will temporarily close from today, 7 October 2019. This means that INZ will not accept expressions of interest (EOIs) from this date.

When the category reopens, 1,000 residence places will be available annually under the category.

Other changes from the current Parent resident visa criteria include:

  • Tier Two of the category will be removed
  • the settlement funds and the guaranteed lifetime income financial eligibility criteria will be removed
  • the new financial requirements for the Parent resident visa can only be met through the income of the sponsor and their partner. Here are the new financial requirements based on a median salary of NZ$53,040:
Expected income thresholds
1 sponsor for 1 parent NZD $106,080 2 times the median salary
1 sponsor for 2 parents NZD $159,120 3 times the median salary
Sponsor and partner  for 1 parent NZD $159,120 3 times the median salary
Sponsor and partner for 2 parents NZD $212,160 4 times the median salary
Guaranteed lifetime income of 1 applicant or for a couple Not available in new parent category
Settlement funds Not available in new parent category
  • sponsors will be required to provide evidence of their annual income through Inland Revenue tax statements, and that they’ve met it for two out of the three years before the application is lodged, and
  • the sponsorship period will be formally aligned with the New Zealand Superannuation residency eligibility requirement.

 Existing EOIs in the queue under the Parent Category

People with EOIs in the system will be emailed to inform them of the changes and invited to either update their EOI or withdraw it. People who withdraw their EOI will be eligible for a fee refund.

When the Parent Category reopens, EOIs will be selected in date order based on the date INZ originally received them (regardless of whether they were submitted under Tier One or Tier Two).

It is estimated that more than 5000 EOI’s are sitting in the pool with the likelihood that at least 80-90% of these will not qualify under the new rules, and will be a bitter pill to swallow considering many have been waiting for such a long period of time. The offer of a refund will be little consolation for the loss of the opportunity of family reunification.

Today’s announcement bears the hallmarks of the challenges face by a coalition government. It has been clear for some time that the Labour party is family orientated and wanted to reopen the category but will have received significant push back with NZ First who effectively pressured the previous National Government into placing a temporary hold on the category in the first place. Increasing the required minimum salary for sponsors to the levels announced will no doubt have been at the direction of or to appease NZ First to ensure the numbers of eligible applicants was as low as possible, their compromise in allowing the category to reopen. There has already been significant condemnation sighting the elitist and unfair nature of the changes, this could certainly not bode well for Labour within the all important migrant electorate in the coming election year.

Conversely for those that do qualify, there will be great relief that there is now light at the end of the tunnel and they can finally make future plans for their parents, the uncertainty of the last 3 years has left so many families in limbo. What isn’t quantifiable is how many highly skilled migrants has New Zealand lost over the last 3 years whilst the category was closed. either those already working in New Zealand that have decided to leave or those who chose not to come at all. At least there is now clarity for all to make informed decisions for their families futures.

If you wish to find out more about this category and your potential eligibility please do not hesitate to get in contact with me [email protected]

Many migrants initially come to New Zealand as International students and follow what we call the study pathway to residence. The main source countries for these international students being China and India.

In most cases the applicant’s intention is to obtain skilled employment and obtain residence through the skilled migrant category, but it must be remembered that this is the potential end result of a process that starts with study and the successful completion of the applicant’s studies is fundamental to provide the foundation of their pathway to residence.

Unfortunately for some, and in our opinion far too many, they fall foul to mostly avoidable issues during the course of their studies that can have a material and prejudicial affect for their ability to progress with their pathway and achieve the desired residence outcome.

An individual must complete the course for which they hold their student visa. The course name and institution is written on their visa as part of the conditions of the visa, they may also include eligibility to work whilst studying. If a person changes their course and or institution they must change their visa to reflect the new situation. If they do not change their visa then at the end of their studies, even if successfully completed, if they do not hold a visa to match the qualification they have been awarded they will not be eligible for a Post-study open work visa (also known as the graduate job search work visa) and they would not be able to use the qualification to claim points in supporting a skilled migrant residence application in the future.

Holders of student visas must consider that in being granted their visa INZ have assessed them as being a genuine student and this is consequently the only purpose for which they have been granted entry to New Zealand. The expectation is that they will attend all their classes and attain the appropriate grades to successfully complete their course.

Whilst students may be granted work conditions to their visa to allow them to work, a maximum of 20 hours during semesters and fulltime only during official study breaks, these conditions are a trusted privilege to gain local work experience, but not to the detriment of their academic work. During a future residence application it is not uncommon for INZ to request a tax summary, and if an individual has worked more than they were permitted as a student this can cause a prejudicial character issue at a critical point of achieving their main goal.

If an individual fails to complete their course they do not have access to graduate work visas, and they do not have an automatic right to obtain a new student visa to retake papers and complete their qualification. This includes students who may be studying a qualification of more than 12 months in duration. If they failure to achieve the grades required to return for the second year they may struggle to obtain a visa to repeat failed papers. New Zealand education providers also have regulations which restrict students taking repeat failed papers (normally the students may be allowed to repeat failed papers only once).

Failure to complete a course coupled with poor attendance can be fatal to future plans and they may have to return home. Given the costs of studying as an international student this can be a very costly failure.

Students are encouraged to seek help as soon as possible if they are struggling with their studies so the institution can provide the appropriate support. For immigration matters always seek the guidance of a suitably experienced and qualified professional.