05 March 2012

New Zealand visa system to favour the wealthy

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A review of the New Zealand visa process will introduce a two tier system which will favour the wealthy.

New Zealand visa

New rules governing New Zealand visa approvals favour the wealthy.

Under the new system, applicants who are categorised as 'high-income' will have their New Zealand visa processed more quickly than those who do not qualify.

In a Cabinet paper obtained by an opposition party member, the aim of the new scheme is to "reduce the number of unskilled migrants who find it difficult to get jobs and are more likely to get benefit payments."

Other changes include applications from parents whose child is acting as a sponsor will not be prioritised if the child is not high income, applicants will no longer be able to bring dependent children with them and applicants with poor English skills will be required to purchase language instruction before they are granted a visa.

The paper explains that any applicants who can guarantee to contribute to the New Zealand economy will be prioritised, although no explanation is given as to how income or wealth will be determined.

"Tier-one parents will be eligible regardless of what country their other adult children live in, while the criteria for tier-two parents will be tightened so that only those who have no adult children living in their home country will be eligible."

The opposing Labour Party's immigration spokesperson, Darien Fenton, said the proposed changes to New Zealand immigration policy were proof of the government's view that "money is all that matters".

"This will come  as a shock for the thousands of people in New Zealand looking to reunite their families, especially given the special treatment handed out to millionaires such as [incarcerated Megaupload founder] Kim Dotcom," said Ms Fenton.

"We are becoming a country where only those with money are welcome."

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Nathan Guy declined to comment but promised to look into the matter.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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