If you have held your residence visa for at least 3 years, you may be eligible to sponsor your parents for residency.Your parents must also meet the following criteria:
- Good health;
- Good character;
- No dependent children;
- English language requirements, or pre-purchase English tuition;
- Either Tier 1 or Tier 2 requirements (see below).
All applicants must first submit an expression of interest (EOI) which goes into a queue. Every three months Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will select a certain number of EOI from the pool, before they issue an invitation to apply for residence. If invited, you will have four months to prepare and submit your application.
A higher financial threshold applies to Tier 1, but these applications will be processed over a much shorter timeframe as they are selected from the pool before Tier 2 applications. From EOI through to residency a Tier 1 application could be processed in less than 12 months, but a Tier 2 application is currently estimated to be processed in approximately 7 years.
What about the ‘centre of gravity’? The Parent Category was completely overhauled in 2012 and there is no longer a centre of gravity requirement.
Tier 1 requirements
- Guaranteed lifetime minimum income per annum of at least $27,203 alone or $40,084 together with their partner; or
- $500,000 in settlement funds to New Zealand; or
- Sponsor (or their partner) earns at least $65,000 p.a., or $90,000 p.a. together with their partner’s income
Tier 2 requirements
- Sponsor (or their partner) has annual income of $33,675; and
- Applicants have no other adult children living in their home country.
If your parents’ residence visa is approved, it will be subject to conditions for the next 5 years. As a sponsor you have a responsibility to ensure your parents have accommodation, maintenance, and outward travel if necessary. After the 5 year period your parents may be eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa.
See our ‘Parent Category Infosheet’ and presentation paper for the 10th Annual LexisNexis Immigration Conference on our website for further information.
Wondering whether your parents can stay in New Zealand while their residence application is pending?
Your parents will need to hold a valid temporary visa at all times while their residence application is being processed. If they cannot obtain a temporary visa they will need to remain offshore until the final decision is made.
One such temporary visa is the ‘Parent and grandparent multiple entry visitor visa’. Providing they are eligible, your parents will be able to stay for 3 six-month visits over a 3 year period (for a total of 18 months). You will be required to sponsor them for the duration of their temporary visa.