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Update on Residency for Parents in New Zealand

New Zealand Immigration Service announced the suspension of accepting residency applications for parents in NZ. This update is being provided - as announced - as public service and part of our immigrant advocacy.

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on October 15, 2016; updated October 15, 2016

Update on Residency for Parents in New Zealand

New Zealand Residence Programme

Parent Category Q&A

What is changing?

The Parent Category is being temporarily closed to new applications. Immigration New Zealand will not make selections from the Parent Category Pool until further notice.

The Government previously set the total number of places for the Capped Family categories (the Parent Category, and the now-closed Sibling and Adult Child Categories) across the 2014/15 and 2015/16 years at 11,000 visa approvals. This number is being reduced to a total of 4,000 visa approvals across the 2016/17 and 2017/18 years.

Why has the Parent Category been temporarily closed?

INZ makes selections and invites applications in sufficient numbers to fill the cap set by the Government. As the cap has been reduced, there are already sufficient numbers of people who have applied or been invited to apply. With a cap of 2,000 visas that can be granted per year, it will take until after the end of the 2017/18 financial year to clear all the applications already in the system.

Why has the number of places under Parent Category been reduced?

New Zealand is currently a popular destination and there has been a recent increase in the number of people who want to apply for residence in New Zealand across all categories. This means that policy changes are needed to ensure that the number the Government has set for residence approvals is not exceeded.

Within the Family Stream, there has been a significant increase in the number of people applying for residence as the partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residents. These applications are not capped, and therefore the only way to manage numbers within the family stream is to lower the cap on parents.

What are the plans for the Parent Category in the future?

A review of Parent policy will be undertaken, with the aim of ensuring that potential applications can be managed under the new lower cap without creating even longer queues.

If there are only 2,000 places available per year, what will happen to applications still being processed when this number is met?

When INZ has approved 2,000 Parent Category visas, applications under consideration will be put in a queue until more places are available at the start of the 2017/18 financial year.

Given there are only a few places left in the family cap for 2016/17, who will get these places?  If my application takes a long time to decide because I have to provide extra medical tests, will I lose my place to someone who applied after me but who doesn’t have to provide any extra information?

The places have been allocated to applications in the date order that we received the applications. This means that we will continue processing the oldest applications in sufficient numbers to fill this year’s cap, and queue newer applications. This is the fairest way of distributing the remaining places.

You will have received an email advising whether your application has been allocated one of the remaining places, or whether it has been queued. If your application has been allocated a place, assessment of your application will continue. It doesn’t matter if your application takes some time to process, there is no danger of a different applicant taking your place. If your application has been queued, it is because people who applied before you have been allocated the remaining places for this year. When more places are available, they will again be allocated based on date of application.

What if I’ve been invited to apply but haven’t yet applied?

If you’ve been invited to apply, you may still put in an application. Your application will be queued until there are places available.

How many people have already been approved in 2016/17? Which applications are going to end up being queued?

At the end of September, about 1,600 people had already been approved in 2016/17, so there are only about 400 places left. We will prioritise the oldest applications. These are the ones that were made under the Parent Category and Sibling and Adult Child Category before the policies changed in 2012. These are likely to take up most of the remaining places for the 2016/17 year.

We have about 1,100 applications on hand, which includes about 2,000 people. Most of these will have to be queued until the 2017/18 year starts in July 2017. They are likely to be decided during that year.

We have issued about 950 invitations to apply to people who have not yet submitted their application, which includes 1,600 people. When these applications are made they will be queued. A small proportion of these could be decided during the 2017/18 year, depending on how many of the applications already on hand are declined, but most of them are likely to be queued until the 2018/19 year which starts in July 2018.

INZ will write to affected customers directly to provide them with more information about how their application or expression of interest will be impacted.

What happens to queued applications? Will you assess my application at all? Do I need to provide any documents?

Queued applications will not be processed at all until places are available. If your circumstances change in a way that could have an impact on your application, you need to inform us in writing. Otherwise, we will be in touch after we start assessing your application if any other documents are required.

What if I’ve submitted an expression of interest but haven’t been invited to apply?

Your expression of interest will remain in the pool, but as there will be no further draws over the next two years it is unlikely that you will be invited to apply during this period.

What if my expression of interest has been selected but I haven’t been issued with an invitation to apply yet?

Your expression of interest will continue to be assessed, and if you are invited to apply you will be able to submit an application.

Can I still submit an Expression of Interest for the Parent Category?

Yes, you can, however, because there may be no selections over the next two years we advise you not to. Also, as the criteria for selection could be changed as a result of the review, there is no guarantee that people who have submitted an expression of interest will be invited to apply.

What if my application under the Parent Category has already been approved-in-principle?

The changes will not affect you. You should continue to follow the instructions in your approval-in-principle letter.

How can I come to New Zealand to be with my New Zealand resident child if I can’t obtain a parent category resident visa?

Parents and grandparents of New Zealand citizens and residents have two visa options available to them. They may apply under:

  • The Parent Retirement Category: This category is uncapped, and requires investment in New Zealand.
  • The Parent and Grandparent visitor visa: This category is for long-term temporary visits (a 36-month multiple-entry visa which enables stays of up to 6 months at a time, although at least 18 months must be spent outside New Zealand).

Explore the other options for Parent Residency Category in New Zealand, below:

Parent Retirement Resident Visa
Parent and Grandparent Visitor Visa

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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