In announcing the changes (see details elsewhere in this Special Report), the Government hopes to attract and retain skilled migrants and ensure that family migrants are self-sufficient and can settle well.
With these changes, skilled migrants meeting the funds requirements, can now sponsor their parents and get a faster result.
While the sponsorship term will remain at five years, the Government has decided to amend the Immigration Act 2009 sometime in the future, extending the sponsorship term to 10 years.
Adult Child and Sibling Category
This category closed at midnight on May 15, 2012 and will not reopen.
New Zealand citizens and residents can no longer sponsor their siblings or adult children for residence. However, applications accepted prior to this date will continue to be processed.
The reason behind this change is this category does not generate sufficient economic benefit for New Zealand.
Statistics reveal that only 66% of sponsored siblings and adult children, who were interviewed 18 months after gaining residence, had jobs, despite a job offer for on-going and sustainable employment being a key requirement of this policy.
Once the current queue of applications for this category has been cleared, then approximately 1400 annual residence places currently used for siblings and adult children will be transferred to the Skilled Migrant Category.
Young Adult Children
Young adult children aged between 18 and 20 may still be eligible for residence, even if they have a job in their home country, provided that they are single, have no children and are included or were declared in their parents’ residence application.
Previously, adult children in that age group were not able to come to New Zealand if they could not show they were financially dependent, such as a job in their home country.
Those aged 21 to 24 will still need to show that they are financially dependent.
Effective April 2, 2012, living expenses for those applying for student visas have increased from $10,000 per annum to $15,000 per annum. This figure applies to student visa applications that are lodged on or after April 2, 2012.
The following categories of Student applicants are eligible to be considered for a Graduate Job Search or Graduate Work Experience visa (two year work visa granted after the job search work visa):
Students who have completed a qualification at Level 7 or above in New Zealand for at least one academic year; or
Students who have completed a qualification at Level 4 to 6 in New Zealand for at least two academic years; or
Students who have completed two individual qualifications at Level 4 to 6 in New Zealand, provided the second qualification is at a higher level than the first (two year study in NZ in total).
Not all Level 4 qualifications are eligible. Only National Certificates Level 4 or the newly introduced NZQA owned ‘New Zealand Certificate Level 4’ qualify, if they meet the conditions listed in Immigration Instructions SM 14.10.
Funds required by applicants for Graduate Job Search Visas have been increased from $2100 to $4200 per annum.
Funds required by partners of student visa holders who are applying for work visas are now $4200 per annum.
Arunima Dhingra is a full licenced Immigration Adviser by the IAA and director of Aims Global Education & Immigration Services Ltd.