15 October 2007

New Zealand immigration rules make it easier for families to come to New Zealand

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New Zealand visa holders who have gained permanent residency will now find it easier to sponsor family members to come to New Zealand. It will also now be possible to apply for a new visa allowing family still in Britain to visit multiple times without applying for a new visa.

Immigration Minister Chris Cunliffe said: "The changes recognise the importance of family support and make the immigration system more transparent. Parents and grandparents play a key role in family life. The new policies will make it easier for family from offshore to visit."

The New Zealand immigration department has announced quota places for the sponsorship of parents, adult children, and adult siblings to go to New Zealand as permanent residents. There will now be a minimum income requirement of NZ$29,897.92 (£11,415.5) for New Zealand visa holders wishing to sponsor their parents. In addition the timeframe in which sponsors must guarantee support for their parents has been extended from two to five years.

The new multiple visit visa for parents and grandparents will allow them to visit New Zealand an unlimited number of times over a three-year period without applying for a new visa each time.

At the same time the rules on sponsoring unmarried partners for New Zealand immigration have been tightened slightly. People with certain criminal convictions will not be able to sponsor a partner for residence or a New Zealand visa unless they are granted a character waiver.

The new rules will start in November.

New Zealand needs skilled migrants: Anyone applying for a New Zealand visa should begin by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements.

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