Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
Minister of Immigration
7 October 2019
As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening
and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says.
The move will:
- support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for their parents to join them
- remove the need for parent applicants to have guaranteed lifetime income and focus instead on the ability of their
skilled migrant child to support them
- Help New Zealand businesses find the skilled labour they need
- Further strengthen the economy by helping businesses thrive.
The current scheme will be closed from today and the new Parent Category option will be opened with new criteria in
February 2020 and a cap of 1,000 people.
“Skilled migrants and their parents have been in limbo since the previous National Government decided almost three years
ago to effectively close the Parent Category by placing a moratorium on it. This created unnecessary and unfair
uncertainty for people,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.
“This Coalition Government is committed to attracting and retaining highly-skilled migrants by providing a pathway for
their parents to join them in New Zealand, while ensuring they will be supported by their children when they get here.
“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.
“The ability for a parent to gain residence through having a guaranteed lifetime income or settlement funds will be
removed under the new settings. Parents will still be required to meet health and character requirements as part of the
“The Parent Category will be closed under its current settings from today and will re-open under the new settings from
February 2020. This will allow those who have submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) under the old settings to
consider what they want to do,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.
Applicants with EOIs currently in the queue will be able to update it to reflect the new requirements and hold their
current place in the queue. Applicants who do not meet the new eligibility criteria will be able to withdraw their EOI
and apply for a full refund.
Notes for editors:
The Parent Category enables citizens and people who have been residents for at least three years to sponsor their
parents for residence in New Zealand. Parents wishing to join their children in New Zealand must submit an Expression of
Interest (EOI) for consideration under the Parent Category. When the EOI is selected from the pool it is assessed
against current eligibility criteria and, if these are met, the parent applicant is invited to apply for residence.
Under the new settings, the financial requirement:
· for one sponsor will increase from $65,000 annual income to twice the New Zealand median income (around $106,000 a
year) if sponsoring one parent and three times the New Zealand median income (around $159,000 a year) if sponsoring two
· for joint sponsors will increase from $90,000 a year to three times the median income (around $159,000 a year) if
sponsoring one parent and four times the median income (around $212,000 a year) if sponsoring two parents.