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Parent Visas Not Coming This Year. Here’s Why

Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has confirmed the government won’t start work on the project until next year.

If you were waiting for a longer-term parent visa, don’t hold your breath. It is not coming this year as officials say they have more pressing tasks at hand. 

RNZ has reported that Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has confirmed the government won’t start work on the project until next year.    

There were a range of immigration issues the government was dealing with to ensure the integrity of the country's border was maintained, RNZ quoted her saying.

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"Our key focus currently is ensuring the AEWV [Accredited Employer Work Visa] settings are right," Stanford said. "(However) the government has committed to introducing the five-year parent visa this term."

Stanford’s announcement in April this year that she was looking at reforms to family visas this term raised hopes among New Zealand’s migrant communities. 

She also signalled she wants changes to the partnership visa policy, describing the culturally arranged marriage visa as not fit for purpose.

The two main ruling coalition partners–National and ACT–had both waved the promise of a parent visa as they courted migrant communities in the national elections last year.

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.

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