New Zealand makes it easier to sponsor family members for residency

28 August 2006


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New Zealand is lifting the caps on the number of immediate relatives that may be sponsored for residency, as well as some other changes that should simplify the process.

Announced by Minister of Immigration David Cunliffe, from July next year there will be no cap on the number of residence places available to partners and dependent children of New Zealand residents and citizens. Currently, places for these applicants are part of a limited number of places in the Family Sponsored Stream of the New Zealand Residence Programme.

"Removing the cap on places for partners and children means they can have more confidence that places will be available for them and in general, waiting times will be reduced.

"As long as basic rules are met, for example people are in a genuine relationship and meet health and character requirements, these people will be guaranteed residence."

"We recognise that partners and children of New Zealanders need certainty when applying for residence as this can affect family decisions to move here, stay here, or live overseas.

"In particular, this change will support our expat programme, which aims to make it easier for New Zealanders overseas to come home. At the time we started the programme we said we would be reviewing this policy and this is the result.

"Many of these overseas Kiwis and their partners have the skills needed by employers. So in addition to attracting Kiwis home and uniting families, we are adding to our pool of skilled labour."

Parents, siblings and adult children of New Zealand sponsors will remain in a capped stream of the residence programme.

In another policy change, sibling and adult child principal applicants must be aged 55 years or younger at the time they make an application.

"This limit reflects the age restriction for skilled migrants in the New Zealand Residence Programme and is part of the focus on the needs of New Zealand in a tight labour market."

"The policy changes are part of an ongoing review of the Family Sponsored Stream. More options are being considered and I expect to make further announcements later this year."


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