New Zealand reopens parent category visa

Move comes in a bid to help retain skilled migrants

WELLINGTON: As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the New Zealand government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Xinhua news agency reported Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway as saying on Monday.

The move will support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for their parents to join them, remove the need for parent applicants to have guaranteed lifetime income and focus instead on the ability of their skilled migrant child to support them, Lees-Galloway said in a statement.

It will also help New Zealand businesses find the skilled labour they need, and further strengthen the economy by helping businesses thrive, he said.

The new Parent Category option will be opened with new criteria in February 2020 and a cap of 1,000 people, he said.

“Skilled migrants and their parents have been in limbo since the previous National Government decided almost three years ago to effectively close the Parent Category by placing a moratorium on it,” Lees-Galloway said.

“This Coalition Government is committed to attracting and retaining highly-skilled migrants by providing a pathway for their parents to join them in New Zealand, while ensuring they will be supported by their children when they get here,” he said.

The new Parent Category settings will increase financial requirements, focusing on their adult child’s income rather than the circumstances of their parent and align with the “highly-paid” settings under the Skilled Migrant Category and the recent changes to employer-assisted Temporary Work visa settings, the minister said.

The ability for a parent to gain residence through having a guaranteed lifetime income or settlement funds will be removed under the new settings. Parents will still be required to meet health and character requirements as part of the application process, he said. – Bernama