New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has played down accusations that the country’s Parent visa category is being misused.
According to figures gained by the New Zealand Herald through the Official Information Act, almost 3,000 people who sponsored their parents to go and live with them in New Zealand have since left the country, leaving their parents in NZ by themselves.
The figures reveal that approximately a third of the sponsors who go on to leave the country come from China (31 per cent), followed by those from India (13.7 per cent), South Africa (4.9 per cent) and the UK (4.4 per cent).
However, Minister Woodhouse rejects criticism that this means the family reunification programme is not performing the task it sets out to do and says that he does not believe it is a widespread trend for sponsors to leave family behind.
“In the minority of cases where a parent decides to stay behind, there could be very good reasons,” the Minister said. “They may have other children and family in New Zealand, their sponsor may only be away temporarily and planning to return [or] the parent could even have found a New Zealand partner.”
The Minister also added that the policy goal for the parent category was to entice more skilled migrants and entrepreneurs to NZ “by providing a pathway for family reunification.”
This is the second time in recent months that the Parent Visa has made headlines in NZ. Earlier this year the New Zealand First political party labelled the system unfair due to the high proportion of Chinese immigrants that use the system.
The party argued that China’s one child policy placed the country at a distinct advantage when it comes to the balance of family requirement – whereby parents can only emigrate to NZ if at least half of their children lived outside their home country.
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