New immigration family policies will help New Zealand attract and retain skilled workers and ensure that their family members can settle well and are self sufficient, it is claimed.
Immigration Minister Nathan Guy said that the changes are being made to give priority to migrants who can make a real contribution to New Zealand. He also pointed out that the changes will eventually save the taxpayer around $40 million a year.
‘There will be a new two tier process for the parents of New Zealand citizens and residents who want to migrate here. Applications from parents who have higher income sponsors, or who bring a guaranteed income or funds, will be processed faster than other applications,’ he explained.
‘Parents whose English is poor will need to pre-purchase tuition, and the period during which sponsors are required to meet certain obligations for their parents’ support will extend from five to 10 years.
‘As a result of these policy changes, many skilled migrants who have residence here can sponsor their parents and will receive a quicker decision with less red tape,’ he added.
The Sibling and Adult Child Category for new migrants will close immediately Tuesday 15 May) which will reduce the number of unskilled migrants who find it more difficult to get jobs and are more likely to end up on a benefit.
Research has shown that only 66% of people who gain residence as siblings and adult children had a job after 18 months, despite a job offer being required for residence.
The existing Parent category will also close today and the new two tier category will be available from late July.
The Dependent Child Category and associated residence requirements will be amended.
The criteria are being relaxed so that young adult children aged 18 to 20 may be eligible for residence, even if they have a job in their home country, provided they are single, have no children and are included, or were declared, in their parents’ residence application.
Previously adult children in that age group were not able to be included in their parents’ residence application if they had a job in their home country. Those aged 21 to 24 will still only be eligible to migrate if they can show that they are financially dependent.
There are also changes to the sponsorship period. Sponsorship includes a responsibility on the New Zealand sponsor to ensure the sponsored person has accommodation and maintenance for a specified time while in New Zealand. Sponsors are also responsible for the costs of outward travel if repatriation or deportation is required.
The sponsorship term for parents will initially remain at five years, but the government has decided it will amend the Immigration Act 2009 at some time in the future to extend the sponsorship term for family sponsored migrants to 10 years. The timing for this amendment has not been decided.