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Elderly parents of migrants left in limbo over visa changes

Gill Bonnett, Reporter

Elderly overseas parents desperate to join their children in New Zealand say the government is sweeping their plight under the carpet after failing to announce what it will do about the residence parent category.

The previous government froze the residence category that allowed parents to join their children in October 2016 while it was reviewed.

In September last year, Immigration New Zealand said work was continuing on the review, and recommendations were expected to be reported to the minister of immigration by the end of the year.

Scottish farmer David Kerr and wife Julia Kerr said they had been waiting two-and-a-half years to find out if they could join their two daughters and five grandchildren in Sumner, Christchurch.

They have written to the government saying they were desperate to know their future.

"We have no other children and are missing being with them full time," they said in an email.

"At the time of closing the door to the parent category, we thought we were probably near the top of the pile, so you can see how frustrated and sad we are feeling.

"Also, time is ticking on and no one knows how many more years of active retirement we have."

"I do fully understand we have no rights to come to New Zealand but I just feel the government maybe should just tell us what's going on ... just keep us informed somehow," Mr Kerr said.

New Zealand citizen Carole Barker said her mother Norah Cheetham, 83, who is in England, is in good health but needed to spend her twilight years with her only daughter.

"Frustrated doesn't even begin to describe the anguish this embargo is causing to these trapped in the void," she said.

"It seems to us that this 'shadowy' group of predominately elderly people are being pushed 'under the carpet' and ignored.

"[It] is not exactly what we expected from a caring, 'family-focused' coalition government."

An Immigration New Zealand spokesperson said it was currently processing more than 300 applications for parent category visas lodged before the review was announced.

"We are not, however, currently selecting new expressions of interest to apply for a parent category visa, and no decision has been made about when selections may restart," the spokesperson said.


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