The New Zealand government has decided to temporarily close the Parent Resident visa.
This decision took effect on Monday, 7 October 2019, which means New Zealand is no longer accepting Expressions of Interest from this date.
The Parent Resident visa will open again in February 2020, but with new criteria for applicants and sponsors to meet.
How is the Parent Resident visa changing?
New Zealand is making a number of significant changes to the Parent Resident visa. These changes include:
- Limiting the number of people who can get the visa each year to 1000.
- Standardising the Expression of Interest process and removing the 2-tier system.
- Changing the financial requirements that sponsors and applicants have to meet.
Of all these changes, the financial requirement changes affect an applicant’s chances of joining their children the most. For this reason, we’ll discuss these changes in detail below.
The new financial requirements for sponsors and applicants
The Parent Resident visa’s new financial requirements can only be met through the income of the sponsor and their partner. Applicants will no longer have the option to apply for the visa based on their settlements funds or a guaranteed lifetime income.
The income levels that sponsors need to meet will also increase. In addition, sponsors will also need to:
- meet the income criteria for two out of the three years before their parents applied for residence, and
- provide evidence of their annual income by providing Inland Revenue tax statements.
What is the new income levels?
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will update the income levels for sponsors each year based on the New Zealand median income.
The current median income is NZD $53,040, which means the expected income levels for 2020 are as follows:
If your sponsorship is based on your personal income, you’ll need to each before tax:
- NZD106,080 to sponsor one parent – Twice the median salary.
- NZD159,120 to sponsor two parents – Three times the median salary.
If you’re using both you and your partner’s income, you’ll need to earn between the two of you:
- NZD159,120 to sponsor one parent – Three times the median salary.
- NZD212,160 to sponsor two parents – Four times the median salary.
What if you’ve already submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI)?
If you already have an EOI in the queue, you’ll have three choices:
- Update your EOI to meet the new requirements, or
- Withdraw your EOI, or
- Leave your EOI in the queue, if you think you’ll meet the new requirements.
INZ will publish more information on how to update your EOI by November. If you update your EOI or keep it in the queue, or submit a new EOI next year, it will be eligible for selection from May 2020.
If you decide to withdraw your EOI, you’ll be able to request a refund. Please contact your Intergate Emigration advisor to discuss this process if you lodged your EOI under the Parent Residence category as a client of ours.
What are the other available options?
The Parent Retirement visa offers temporary residency and could lead to permanent residency. You’ll have to be able to invest certain amounts in New Zealand.
The Parent and Grandparent Visitor visa on the other hand is a 3-year multiple-entry visa that enables you to stay in New Zealand for up to 6 months at a time.
Stay up to date with developments
Immigration New Zealand is making many changes to their immigration program from now until 2021. The first of the changes are coming into effect in a couple of days on 7 October.
The rest of the changes are planned for 2020 and 2021. We’re going to detail these changes below.
Changes in 2020
There are two changes coming in 2020:
- Family visas for low-skilled Essential Skills Work Visa holders.
- Determining if a job is low-skilled or high-skilled.
Family visas for low-skilled Essential Skills Work Visa holders
From mid-2020, Essential Skills Work Visa holders on low-skilled jobs will be able to support family visas. Their partners and children younger than school age will be able to apply for visitor visas for the duration of the work visa. School-going children will be able to apply for student visas.
Determining if a job is low-skilled or high-skilled
Immigration New Zealand is going to change how it’s decided if a job is low-skilled or high-skilled. Currently, jobs under the Essential Skills Work visa are assigned a skill band based on a combination of the pay and the categorisation of the job on ANZSCO.
From mid-2020, INZ will not use ANZSCO and instead use only the rate of pay. High-paid jobs will be defined as jobs that pay at or above the median wage, while low-paid jobs will be jobs that pay below the median wage.
High-paid jobs will receive the same benefits as jobs that are currently categorized as mid-skilled or high-skilled, and low-paid jobs will be treated the same as low-skilled jobs.
Changes in 2021
There is one big change coming in 2021:
New temporary work visa will replace 6 existing visas
From 2021, a new temporary work visa will replace six existing visas:
- Essential Skills Work Visa
- Essential Skills Work Visa – approved in principle
- Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
- Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
- Silver Fern Job Search Visa
- Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa
If you already hold a visa that is being replaced, it will remain valid until it expires. If you’d like to continue working for your current employer after your visa expires, you’ll have to apply for the new temporary work visa or another visa you qualify for.
Please note that if you already hold a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa or a Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa, you can still apply for residence based on your current work visa.
Some policies are staying in place
Amidst all of the change, some things will remain the same:
- People who hold visas based on lower-skilled work will still have to leave New Zealand for a 1-year stand-down period after they have been working for 3 years.
- The new visa will still have conditions specifying an employer, job and location, and a visa holder will still have to get a variation of conditions to change any of these.
- INZ will still need to be satisfied that there are no New Zealanders available for a job before they grant a visa — in most cases, through the labour market test.
Keeping up to date with the changes
INZ has said that they are still working on how to implement some of the changes. As more details are finalised, we’ll update you right here on our blog. To stay up to date, sign up to our newsletter (it’s free!) or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn where we post news as it happens.