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Family Friendly Change To Residence Policy

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Immigration

Family Friendly Change To Residence Policy

A change to residence policy will make it easier for Kiwis to bring overseas family members to New Zealand, Immigration Minister David Cunliffe says.

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 these applicants are part of a limited allocation in the family stream of the New Zealand Residence Programme.

"Removing the cap on places for partners and children means they can have more confidence about their immigration status and in general, waiting times will be reduced," Mr Cunliffe said.

"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, a maximum age of 55 years has been introduced for sibling and adult child applicants.

"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."

ends

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