You can have your say in the evolving Labour Policy
Wellington, October 19, 2019
The Parent Category was closed by the previous (National-led) government in 2016 and this left people in a lot of uncertainty.
The current government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, decided to reopen the Category to give people some clarity after they were left in limbo by the previous government.
The reopening of the Parent Category has been tightened, and I know some people are disappointed and I can understand this.
The Parent Category Visa has always had financial criteria attached to it.
The reopened Category matches the financial thresholds for sponsorship with our new skilled migrant Category income threshold.
This government has removed the expectation that Parents themselves bring in significant life savings, and have focused on the need for skilled migrants to support their Parents – another factor in the increase in thresholds.
It is simply not true that this Government is only considering highly skilled migrants or the wealthy. However, we need certainty that sponsoring migrants can support their Parents, and these changes do so.
Options for others
For those who do not meet the criteria of the Parent Category, all other visa options are open and still apply.
Once again, I acknowledge that some are disappointed.
However, our Immigration Minister has worked incredibly hard in this space to get us this far, because Labour believes it was fundamentally unfair that people were left in limbo for this long since the National government closed the Category.
To be able to reopen the Category, however, we required agreement from our Coalition partners. If we hadn’t been able to get that agreement, we wouldn’t have been able to reopen it at all.
Importance to Indian community
I know how important the Parent Category is to the wellbeing of our community particularly as I am a migrant myself and have a Parent who lives overseas.
I know it is an incredibly emotive issue. I also acknowledge some of the concerns that I continue to hear about the reopened Category.
While the income thresholds are higher than they have been in the past, it is important to note that the Category is now at least opened after being closed by the previous National government – this represents progress.
Your feedback required
In the coming months, along with other Labour MPs I am keen to hear constructive community feedback so that we can develop Labour policy to take into the 2020 election. We will listen carefully to those from our communities who engage in these issues in a calm and factual manner.
Immigration Policy is about striking the right balance on a number of fronts.
Migrants bring to New Zealand the skills we need to grow not only our economy, but also the vibrant cultures that enrich our society.
We have always welcomed migrants to New Zealand and will continue to do so.
However, we also need to be able to ensure that we have the infrastructure to support the wellbeing of migrants who choose to make New Zealand home.
Solving long-term issues
And that means addressing the nine years of underfunding in housing, infrastructure and public services left to us by the previous government.
We are getting on with the job of tackling the long-term issues facing New Zealand – we can’t solve all of it straight away but we’re well underway and making good progress. We are taking a balanced approach while ensuring continued economic growth.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan is Member of Parliament on Labour List and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ethnic Communities Minister.