The parent residence scheme was reopened in early 2020. It allows New Zealand citizens or residents to sponsor their parents for residence. With border closures after Covid-19, this policy was put on hold until 12 October 2022. Immigration New Zealand (“INZ”) announced the restart of the parent resident visa with reduced requirements for sponsors. INZ also resumed selecting existing parent Expressions of Interest (“EOI”) on 14 November 2022. With all the immigration changes that have taken place over the last couple of years, I believe now would be a good time to remind you of the requirements under the parent resident visa category. 

Parent Resident Visa Category

The parent resident visa application is made in two stages. The first stage is submitting an EOI, which is then entered into a pool. Selection from the pool may result in an invitation to apply for a resident visa under the parent category. Once the person is invited to apply for residence, the second stage is to complete and file a residence application with INZ. Applications will be approved if the requirements for health, character, English language, family relationships and sponsorship (including minimum income thresholds) are met.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, the parent(s) must meet the following requirements:

  • Health and character requirements for residence.
  • Have no dependent children. A child is considered dependent if they are aged 21-24, single, with no children of their own and substantially reliant on their parent(s) for financial support; or aged 18-20, single, with no children of their own; or aged 17 years or younger.
  • Meet the English language criteria.
  • Must have at least one sponsoring adult child who meets the family relationship, sponsorship including minimum income requirements as set out in the immigration instructions (policy).

Sponsorship and minimum income threshold

On 12 October 2022, INZ changed the sponsorship requirements and minimum income threshold, which should be more favourable than before for many New Zealand sponsors who want to bring their parents to New Zealand.

Under the previous rules, only one adult child or one adult and their partner can sponsor their parents under parent residence category. The new rules allow two adult children to sponsor their parent(s).

INZ has also lowered the income threshold requirement for sponsors to sponsor parents. Previously, a sponsor was required to earn twice the median wage. Now, a sponsor needs to earn 1.5 times the median wage. This limit increases by half the median wage for each additional parent or each joint sponsor.

The sponsor or joint sponsors must also meet that minimum income threshold for two years within the 3-year period before being invited to apply for residence. For example, if you are the adult child and sponsoring only one parent, your minimum income will need to be $86,611.20, and if you are sponsoring two parents, then it will be $115,481.60. The calculation is based on the median wage of $57,740.80 for the year. The same calculation will apply for the other two years if the sponsor meets the minimum income threshold.

Selection of existing and new EOIs

Any EOIs INZ receive from 12 October 2022 will go into a ballot. The first random selection from the ballot is in August 2023, then every 3 months after that. However, INZ’s advice is not to rush and submit your EOI because EOIs that have not been selected from the ballot will expire after two years. INZ recommends that people should submit EOIs closer to the ballot selection to maximise the amount of time to stay in the ballot before it expires. From May 2023 EOIs can be submitted online on the INZ website.

There is an annual limit to the number of resident visas available under the parent category. It is limited to 2,500 people for each year ending 30 June. Until the queued pool of EOIs is cleared, 2000 visas per year are allocated for the people with EOIs submitted in the queued pool, and from July 2023, 500 visas per year will be allocated to those whose EOIs are in the ballot pool.

For those who submitted an EOI before 12 October 2022, they can update the EOI to meet the new requirements for the parent resident visa category. As mentioned earlier, two adult children can now jointly sponsor a parent and the income requirement is lower.

Get in touch with us

As you can see, the parent resident visa category is a complex process. It can get tricky, particularly for the sponsors to ensure they meet the minimum income threshold to sponsor their parents. INZ has placed a cap on the number of resident visas granted under this category. Therefore, you must ensure you meet the requirements and file a complete and correct application with INZ. Book an appointment to discuss your options if you need advice about the parent category.