People being badly hurt by parent visa politics
Lifting the moratorium on residency visas for parents of migrants is long overdue says the head of one of New Zealand’s largest firm of licensed immigration advisers.
David Cooper, director of Malcolm Pacific Immigration, says the parent visa situation was never out of control, even when it was placed on hold in October 2016 prior to the last General Election.
Mr Cooper, who has more than 35 years’ experience in the sector, says the people affected are being badly hurt unnecessarily.
Parliament’s Education and Workforce Select Committee this week heard a petition, organised by David Barker and signed by 8420 people, for the moratorium to be lifted.
Evidence given to the committee tackled myths that some old people emigrated to New Zealand and became a burden on the state, or were left here by their children, who then moved on to fresher pastures.
An Immigration New Zealand spokesperson said its study of a 2013 cohort of migrants under the parent visa showed none had applied for any state benefit in the first two years and only one percent after five years.
The idea that migrants left parents here was also debunked with 86% of migrants who had sponsored as far back as 2003-04 still living in New Zealand and 97% of those sponsoring in 2011-12 were also still in New Zealand.
Mr Cooper says he is meeting people who have spent several years in New Zealand, often providing valuable professional services, who are packing their bags to leave to go back to be near parents.
“We are losing valuable skilled people,” he says. “Most countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia do have a pathway for parents.
“Governments should either have a policy that says parents, who are often grandparents, can’t get into the country, or they should make policy that determines how these people may get a visa and make it work,” Mr Cooper says.
“Keeping people in limbo for nearly three years is not good in terms of their wellbeing. I think most Kiwis would see it as quite uncaring.”