Immigration has always been a concern to all the migrants in New Zealand. In the last 20 years, there have been a number of significant changes in immigration policies in New Zealand. One of the recent changes to the immigration policy is the change to the family category.

There are a number of family residence categories which provides residence to family members of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. Immigration New Zealand has made some changes recently in Family Residence Category that will help New Zealand attract and retain skilled migrants, and ensure that family migrants can settle well and are self-sufficient.

To grow New Zealand’s economy, New Zealand always looks for skilled migrants. Being able to sponsor the parents to live in New Zealand is an important pathway to hold skilled migrants in New Zealand. These policy changes introduce more systematic and easy process for the skilled migrants who wish to sponsor their parents for residence.

The key changes to the policy are:

Parent Category

In July 2012, new requirements for the Parent residence category will come into effect. The requirements include:

Expression of Interest:

After July 2012, people will be able to express their interest in applying for New Zealand residence under the Parent Category by completing the appropriate EOI form and submitting it to INZ, along with a NZ$420 fee. EOIs will be entered into the Parent Category pool under either tier one or tier two, depending on the requirements they claim to meet. EOIs will be drawn from the pool every three months. After this, the people who submitted these EOIs will either be invited to apply for residence or have their EOIs declined

Two Tier System:

The new Parent Category will have two tiers with separate requirements applying to each. Applications that meet the tier one criteria will be given priority processing. All applicants must meet the general requirements of family relationship (with their sponsor), and being of good health and character.

Tier one – People applying under tier one must meet the following requirements:
• They must have either:
o a guaranteed life-time minimum income of $27,203 per annum for a single person or $39,890 per annum for a couple, or
o minimum settlement funds of $500,000 which they bring to New Zealand, or
o a sponsoring adult child who has an income of at least $65,000 per annum or $90,000 per annum when combined with the sponsor’s partner’s income, and
• They must not have any dependent children, and
• They must meet at least two competencies of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Level 4.0, meet an equivalent requirement or pre-purchase English for Speakers of Other Languages tuition at a cost of $1,735.

Tier two – People applying under tier two must meet all of the following requirements:
• They must have a sponsoring adult child who has an income of at least $33,675 per annum.
• If the applicants have other adult children, the children must all live lawfully and permanently outside the country in which the parents live.
• They must not have any dependent children.
• They must meet at least two competencies of IELTS Level 4.0, meet an equivalent requirement or pre-purchase English for Speakers of Other Languages tuition at a cost of $1,735.

Sibling and Adult Children Category

Applications for Sibling and Adult Child Category will close permanently on 16 May 2012. From this date New Zealand citizens and residents will no longer be able to sponsor their siblings or adult children for New Zealand residence. However, applications already received will continue to be processed. In addition:
• siblings and adult children will continue to receive 10 points within the Skilled Migrant Category on the basis of their family relationship

Residence requirements for young adult children

The 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.

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.


For further immigration enquiries please contact
Raj Pardeep Singh / Ashima Budgoojar
Kenton Chambers Lawyers
Level 8, 300 Queen Street, Auckland Central.
Ph: +64 9 358 1900, Fax: +64 9 358 1903