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Not 100-Day Plan, But Can National-ACT Talk About Parent Visa?

David Seymour (left), Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Winston Peters. (Photo: RNZ/Samuel Rillstone)

In all the gung-ho and hullabaloo as the new National-led coalition marks 100 days in office on March 8, I hope it’s not going to be out of place to ask what’s happening to the long-term parent visas for migrants.

I know it wasn’t a part of the items Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s government promised it would deliver in its first 100 days. So what? Most of what we have heard so far from the immigration minister wasn’t part of that agenda either.



Over the last few weeks, the only thing Erica Stanford has talked about openly as part of her immigration portfolio is resetting the work visa regime, especially the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

Don’t get me wrong. This visa scheme the Labour government launched to fill in job vacancies post Covid-19 seems to have spurred a nexus of deceitful employers and agents fleecing migrants with fake job offers. It must be fixed. 

But given both National and ACT ran a high-pitch election campaign to woo Indian New Zealanders last year, is it too much to hope they would make the right noises around an issue that tugs at the core of the diaspora community?

For years, migrants-not just from India-have campaigned for a more relaxed visa regime that allows their parents to live with them for longer durations. The current settings permit parents to visit only for short periods and impose a limit on how frequently they can visit New Zealand. 

In the months leading to the October 2023 elections, those pleas seemed to have finally been heard. All the three main political parties–National, ACT and Labour–announced lucrative election promises on this front. The policies differed in specifics but were largely aimed at finding a longer-term solution for migrants’ parents. 

National said they would allow relatives to visit family members for five years, with the possibility of renewal for another five years. The new ‘Parent Visa Boost’ would need to be sponsored by children or grandchildren, and applicants would need private health insurance among other conditions.

ACT's proposal, titled ‘Unite Visa’, would enable relatives to visit family for up to five years at a time, provided they pay an annual $3,500 fee to cover potential health costs.

Those promises were front and centre every time their leaders met with the Indian community during the election campaign. Fair to say the voters now deserve to know that promise is on track.

A few weeks back, Stanford did talk about the parent visa but only when responding to a specific query by The Indian Weekender. She said the government will soon begin working out a mechanism for a five-year renewable parent visa. 

"Introducing a five-year renewable parent category visa, conditional on covering healthcare costs, is in the National-ACT Coalition Agreement. I will be getting advice from officials on options for this and will share further details,” she said. 

We haven’t heard any further details as yet. 

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