22 May 2006
New Zealand close guardian permit loophole
New Zealand have announced new measures to prevent the guardians of young fee-paying foreign students from abusing the visa system.
Minister of Immigration David Cunliffe has approved changes that restrict holders of ‘guardian permits’ from being granted work permits or student permits after it emerged large numbers of guardians were subsequently gaining full work visas.
Mr Cunliffe told National Radio, New Zealand: "Up to 10 per cent of guardian visas are now being transferred to a work permit which means up to 10 per cent of international fee-paying students are no longer paying fees to the schools they are studying and that's just not acceptable."
He went on to say that although the figures were low, with only 798 out of 7000 guardians having obtained a full work visa and not all of them a deliberate attempt to abuse the system, they represented a growing trend and the time was right to close this backdoor route to gaining a full work permit.
As a result guardians who are the holders of visitor permits granted under “Special Categories of Visitors – Guardians accompanying students to New Zealand” policy, are now prohibited from being granted a student permit or a work permit.
The “Special Categories of Visitors – Guardians accompanying students to New Zealand” policy was introduced in 2003 and was designed to allow parents or legal guardians of foreign fee-paying students aged 17 years or under, or enrolled in school years 1 to 13, to accompany and remain with the student for the purpose of providing care and support.