Govt close to decision on reopening parent visa category

Immigration NZ's harm team has been using information such as past immigrants' convictions and...
It is unclear why the category remains closed, but Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway anticipated a decision would be made in the first half of this year. Photo: Getty Images

The Government appears to be inching closer to a decision on reopening the parent visa category after it was closed to clear a backlog in late 2016.

The decision would provide some much-needed clarity for the close to 6000 people who have been in limbo on the visa wait list for more than two years.

The visa category, which enabled parents to join their adult children in New Zealand if they were a resident or citizen, was temporarily closed by then-Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse in order to clear a backlog of applications.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) officials had expected it to be re-opened in June last year, but it remains closed.

Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, said the treatment of the alleged victim was "appalling...
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. Photo: NZ Herald
It is unclear why the category remains closed, but Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway anticipated a decision would be made in the first half of this year.

An MBIE briefing on the outcome of the parent, partnership and dependent child visa category review showed INZ officials met Lees-Galloway on December 20, 2017 to discuss "high-level findings and conclusions from the family category reviews".

The briefing, provided to National under the Official Information Act, showed the officials expected the review of the parent category visa, which was to occur while it was temporarily closed, would conclude in June, 2018.

Under a "next steps" subheading, the briefing said officials would update the Immigration Minister by the end of February, 2018 on further information which could be provided to him to help make his decision.

Almost a year later, the Government has yet to make a decision.

A spokesman for Lees-Galloway said he had received more advice on the visa category at the end of last year and "that's something that still needs to go before Cabinet".

"I anticipate that we'll be making a decision around that in the first half of this year."

The spokesman said the Minister would make no further comment until the issue had been before Cabinet.

Immigration NZ today said the backlog of people was 5730.

Before the closure, the National Government had capped the number of visas to 4000 every two years. Prior to 2015, that number was 11,000 every two years.

Woodhouse said today the stay was meant to be a temporary measure and called on Lees-Galloway to explain why the visa category was still closed.

Woodhouse said INZ was tasked with reviewing the parent visa category to determine whether the criteria and sponsorship requirements were fit for purpose while the category was temporarily closed.

"There was a concerning anecdote about the number of parents who claimed the means to live independently from the state but who didn't, who had to apply for emergency support from social welfare from the Ministry of Social Development."

He said he had wanted to take a deeper look into this issue and to make sure criteria was in place to make sure that the 2000 people per year that were granted visas were the most worthy.

Asked what he thought had caused the holdup in re-establishing the parent visa category, Woodhouse speculated New Zealand First was behind the delay.

"Winston Peters has been heavily critical of the ability of parents to come in and stay permanently in New Zealand. By whatever means, he is delaying, deferring or cancelling the return of that visa category."

In the past, Peters had been critical of the category saying it provided easy access to New Zealand's health services and its superannuation.


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All those one child from China, now we get two parents as well. Who pays for their inability to self-sustain if they cannot, who pays for the medical requirements of these older people?

Good thinking, then INZ have to categorized those things. Current law stoping who they can look after their parents as well. Person who is citizen of NZ or permanent resident and living here 5 or 10 years then INZ must give them right to bring their parents.
They have rights to look after their parents when they pay taxes for long term. Please dont forget all the taxes from these foreign migrants using it for many of elderly cares and benefits for others parents.

The public health system is in an appalling state. Vulnerable people who should receive care are *dying* in our broken hospital system because of lack of resources, overworked staff, too few staff, and chaotic "systems".

By allowing all of these immigrant parents in to aotearoa, our own most vulnerable consequently wait in longer lines for medical attention, suffer health complications more often and therefore die many years or decades before they should.

It is lunacy to be admitting so many immigrant parents in to new zealand, who of course clog up our broken public health system more. But without having paid a lifetime of taxes or having volunteered or contributed at all to aotearoa's society.

It is a tragedy for those who die needlessly, and for the broken families left behind.

I hope the immigrant parent access is stopped permanently.

That's a bit narrow minded LouLou. There is more wrong with NZ's DHB system than funding! (Having worked in DHB's I have first hand experience of the backwards systems and money wasting practices that happen daily). Regardless, your reasoning is flawed. My parents are hard working citizens of the common wealth! Coming to NZ they would pay a substantial amount to join this society - Including an investment of well over $1,500,000 + Pensions + future tax earning. I also pay a substantial amount of tax to "Your" government. All-in-all if your point is to accuse legal immigrants who pay their way (just like you) of "clogging" up a poorly managed & [Ok] funded healthcare system... you need to open your mind and realize that they aren't the problem.

Migrants paying for you dole and benefits

When some one have the power it doesn't mean he can use that to hurt many others. All of us or some of us has gone through this situation.
Mr. INZ minister is making a huge mistake by making unnecessary orders. There are many people who have the right category to apply for the above visa and they are paying huge amount of taxes and happy to pay again because we all need a good life style.
Mr. INZ minister if you dont know how to make the right decision by selecting the appropriate people then you better to knock of the INZ door. You cannot stop this category for this long time.
Please dont be stupid and do not hate people who work hard for their families and society without asking a single cent benefit. Be a fair person and continue to be in your seat by being fair to people. End of the day you will have good memories left.

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