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New Zealand: Major Parties Announce New Immigration Policies to Facilitate Family Visits

New Zealand

In a series of policy announcements today, the Labour, National, and ACT parties have unveiled proposals aimed at enhancing the ability of parents and grandparents to visit their families in New Zealand.

These developments coincide with the government’s decision to expand the roles listed on the Green List, extend Recovery Visas, and impose restrictions on deportations resembling dawn raids.

National Party’s initiative, dubbed the “Multiple Entry Parent Visa Boost,” seeks to introduce a visa valid for five years, with the option of renewal for another five years. Erica Stanford, the party’s spokesperson for immigration, noted the limited options currently available for parents and grandparents of migrants who are now New Zealand residents or citizens. Stanford emphasized the need for New Zealand to compete with other nations that offer more favorable parent visa options.

It is essential to highlight that under National’s plan, visitors granted the Parent Visa Boost will not attain full residence or citizenship rights, rendering them ineligible for Superannuation and other entitlements. Additionally, these visitors must hold health insurance and meet standard Immigration New Zealand requirements, while also requiring sponsorship from their children or grandchildren in New Zealand.

ACT’s proposal closely mirrors National’s, naming it the “Unite Visa,” allowing parents to visit their children for a five-year period with an annual renewal requirement. However, differences lie in availability and the healthcare funding approach. The Unite Visa will be open to “parents or grandparents of residents, permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens,” expanding eligibility compared to National’s proposal, which limits it to the family of permanent residents and citizens.

While National’s Parent Visa Boost mandates health insurance for the entire stay, ACT’s Unite Visa replaces this requirement with an annual fee of $3500, allocated to a public health fund. This fee’s future adjustment will be based on the healthcare costs for visa holders.

ACT party leader David Seymour criticized the existing immigration reset policy as cruel, emphasizing the critical role immigration plays in New Zealand’s development. Seymour argued that a well-managed immigration system can optimize its benefits while addressing historical concerns that led to restrictive immigration policies.

The Labour party’s proposal, aimed at “backing migrant working families,” introduces a 10-year Multiple-Entry Parents’ and Grandparents’ Super Visa. Furthermore, they have committed to honoring the dawn raids apology by providing a one-off overstayer visa for Pacific and other long-term migrants residing in New Zealand for over a decade.

Under Labour’s Super Visa, migrants’ grandparents and parents can make successive visits lasting between 6 months and 5 years. This policy underscores the importance of family support for migrants, with financial sponsorship required from a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident child living in the country, in addition to medical and public liability insurance.

Labour also intends to address the backlog of Parent Residence Visa applications as part of their immigration policy agenda.

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