With the suspension of the Parent category of New Zealand Residence in October 2016, a problem has arisen for many. Since then, we have been asked to assist in a number of situations, to find a way for an elderly parent to remain in New Zealand with their adult children.

We have helped in a number of interesting situations, with outcomes as described below.

  1. Elderly parent brought to New Zealand as a Visitor prior to the closure of the Parent category in October 2016, but unable to apply under that category due to its closure, and unable to return to their home country due to their age and condition. They became unlawful in New Zealand after their Visitor Visa expired.  A Humanitarian appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal against deportation liability was successful, and Residence was granted.
  2. Elderly parent brought to New Zealand as a Visitor before the Parent category closed.  A Parent category Expression of Interest (“EOI”) was made, and an Invitation to Apply for Residence was issued.  However, the Residence application could not be filed within the required timeframe.  Then the selection of EOIs under the Parent Category was closed so that a new Residence application was no longer possible.  They became unlawfully in New Zealand when their Visitor Visa expired.  Unfortunately, a section 61 request for Residence was unsuccessful.
  3. Elderly parent brought to New Zealand as a Visitor after husband passed away in the home country, just before the Parent category was suspended in October 2016. Due to a decline in health, they were unable to return to their home country and became unlawful in New Zealand when their Visitor Visa expired.  A request for a Visa was made to the Minister of Immigration (under the previous National Government).  The Associate Minister of Immigration granted a 3 year Visitor Visa, subject to usual health and character requirements being met.
  4. An application under the Parent Category for an elderly parent was made prior to the closure of the category, and the family brought them to New Zealand as a Visitor while the application was in processing.  The application was placed in a queue and further processing was not expected until late 2018 or early 2019.  In the meantime, they had already stayed as a Visitor for the maximum allowed period of 9 months in the last 18 months.  We made an application for a further Visitor Visa as an exception to instructions, and a 6 month Visitor Visa was granted to allow them to wait out a decision on their Residence without having to make the long flight home.

These situations all involved slightly different solutions to the problem presented.  They show that where some creative lawyering is applied, success in difficult situations can be achieved.  Each case is dependent on its own facts.  It is critical to draw out the most compelling aspects, not only of the parent’s own situation, but also of their family both in New Zealand and overseas.  And we can’t necessarily win them all.

As at January 2018, the selection of Parent category EOIs remains on hold.  Just before the Election, the Labour Party representative at the Annual Conference of NZAMI indicated that they would, if elected, look afresh at when it might be reopened.  We expect nothing more on this front until after the new Immigration Ministers have come to grips with their new portfolios.