The government has finally opened the parent-visa category; however, nothing is remotely same, or reasonably more challenging, than what it was originally before being suspended by the previous National government in 2016.
The category has been re-opened exclusively for a minuscule of selected elites to be able to bring their parents along with them.
Now migrants earning in the range of whopping $159,000 - $212,000 annually, are only eligible to bring their parent in the country on permanent residence.
At best, this decision seems to be outrageous and insulting for the vast number of working-class migrants.
How this government came to this idea is perplexing, putting most permanent residence and New Zealand citizens out of reach to sponsor their parents.
The focus now is on the financial earnings of the children in New Zealand rather than the guaranteed lifetime income. They will still be required to meet health and character requirements as part of the application process.
The current scheme will close on Monday and re-open in February 2020, with new criteria.
In the news report, it states that "Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said this would allow those who had submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) under the old settings to consider what they wanted to do. It is understood a delay in re-opening the visa was related to issues Lees-Galloway had trying to get consensus from NZ First."
"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," Mr Lees-Galloway said.
"Parents with EOIs currently in the queue can update applications to reflect the new requirements and hold their place in the queue. Applicants who do not meet the new eligibility criteria can withdraw their EOI and apply for a full refund.
A single person sponsoring one parent needs to earn twice the New Zealand median income - about $106,000 a year - and, if sponsoring two parents, $159,000 a year.
Joint sponsors (for one parent) will increase from $90,000 a year to $159,000, and $212,000 a year if sponsoring two parents."
The earning requirements are very high, even for advanced professionals.
How did they arrive at the income threshold is beyond me.
The opposition to this scheme is not to burden the taxpayers, which is understandable, but having very high-income threshold is not resolving the issues at hand.
It is better to reject than put unnecessary pressure on the sponsoring children now. The pressure on the children to earn more income will now become more relevant than before.
No one in government is thinking outside the box.
Not all are interested in permanent residence in New Zealand, many in fact prefer to spend their last days with their loved ones and return home.
I doubt this government has done any basic rational analysis on this very important issue, forget about the empathetic, compassionate approach that they so boisterously claim to be doing in every aspect of policy-making.
Dave Ananth is a Senior Tax Counsel and a regular contributor of the Indian Weekender