Long term migrants in New Zealand have said they may have to consider leaving the country if the parent residency pathway remains closed.
The parent residency pathway, which grants residency to parents of immigrants living in New Zealand, has been suspended for six years and remains closed.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has suspended residency applications since 2016, leaving more than 3,000 applications without a decision.
This has resulted in widespread dissatisfaction and concern among migrants who have lived in New Zealand for years and applied for their elderly or single parents to join them in the country.
Previously, the New Zealand government announced that the parent residency category would be reopened in 2020 with increased income criteria for sponsors.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic and following border closures, lockdowns and travel restrictions prevented New Zealand’s parent residency program from reopening, which has remained suspended ever since.
More than 5,000 residents in the country have signed a petition to the New Zealand parliament calling for the parent residency program to be immediately reopened.
Applicants in various sectors in the country have applied – or are waiting to apply – for their elderly or single parents living abroad to travel to New Zealand and live with them.
However, leaving the parent residency category closed and not delivering decisions on applications would force long term residents in New Zealand to consider their future in the country.
Many residents have voiced their discontent at Immigration New Zealand’s failure to reopen the parent residency category and suggested that they may have to move to other countries that have a clearer pathway to providing residency for their parents.
Applicants have expressed disappointment with Immigration New Zealand’s lack of communication or clarity on the parent residency category, as they have received no word on whether the parent residency program will be reopened, remain closed for longer, or whether INZ would finally start reviewing applications.
INZ already has a backlog of more than 3,600 parent residency Expressions of Interest (EOIs), but the matter is on Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi’s radar, and the government is continuing to assess when EOI selections can take place, an INZ spokesperson said.