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A Guide to Living in NZ for Parents Applying for the Parent Residency Visa

The Parent Residency Visa in New Zealand has now reopened. Learn more about visa changes, new sponsorship rules and what life is like for parents living in NZ.
January 11, 2023
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5
 min read

There will be families breathing a sigh of relief as the Parent Resident Visa restarts. The visa had been suspended since 2016 and prolonged by NZ border closures during COVID

What Is the Parent Residency Visa Category?

A Parent Residency visa allows you to live in New Zealand permanently if you have a child (sponsor) who is a New Zealand citizen or resident. They must earn enough money to meet the new threshold and agree to sponsor you. 

This category is open to parents, grandparents and legal guardians. It allows the successful applicant to travel freely in and out of the country until their travel conditions expire. After these conditions expire, the visa holder must apply for permanent residency or an extension of their visa.

Successful applicants can work and study to support themselves. 

Requirements such as 'must be of good health and character' are retained, the same as all other visa categories in NZ. 

New Expressions of Interest (EOI) commenced from 12 October 2022. Successful applications will be selected by a random ballot starting in August 2023. 

What are the Sponsorship requirements? 

For ten years after the Parent Resident visa is granted, the sponsor must meet the following sponsorship obligations:

  • Provide the parent with suitable accommodation.
  • Ensure the parent's health and welfare needs are met.
  • Pay any costs associated with the deportation and repatriation (if required).

What Has Changed?

There has been an increase in the number of visas available, which has risen from 1000 to 2500. As with the previous system, NZ residents and citizens can sponsor their parents to come to New Zealand.

It now allows two adult siblings, rather than just one adult child and their partner, to sponsor their parents. Joint sponsorship allows the sponsors to pool their income to meet the requirements to get the visa for their parents. However, it does not enable dependant children to be added to this visa. 

The income requirements for sponsors have been reduced. A sponsor now must earn 1.5 times the New Zealand median wage rather than twice the median wage. Joint sponsorship requirements (the combination of 2 sponsors) now require twice the median income. 

The sponsors can bring up to a limit of six people under this category. However, there is an increase in the income threshold with each additional person brought in, increasing by half the median wage for each joint sponsor or additional parent.

What Happens if You Already Have an EOI? 

Existing EOIs, received before 12 October 2022 will be selected in the date order they were received. Selection will start again on 14 November 2022 and continue to choose EOIs every three months after that.

Timeframes for selection and visa processing will be available on the INZ website as they work through processing the visa applications. 

All existing EOI’s will be contacted to ensure the information available to INZ is up to date. 

What is Life Like in NZ for Migrant Parents? 

The next big step after securing residence is understanding what life will be like for you once you arrive. Of course, many parent residency visa applicants will have already visited our shores on a Visitor Visa and spent time with their children. However, for those who have not previously visited, here are a few things to consider when moving down under. 

Cost of Living

There are various living expenses to keep in mind for parents applying to live in New Zealand. These include general living costs, like utility bills, groceries, or other expenses for your family.

Living costs can vary from city to city, which is also essential to keep in mind.

  • Utility bills are an average of NZ$135 for a single person per month.
  • Licensing (registration) fee for one year is NZ$110.
  • Warrant of Fitness (WoF) is required every 6-12 months and costs about NZ$50-60. 
  • Petrol costs vary by fuel type. With a litre of 91 costing upwards of NZ$2.60, 98 is averaging around NZ$3 as of 2022.
  • Eating out can cost NZ$110-130 for two people, especially in cities like Auckland, while fast-food chains are typically NZ$10-14 per meal. 
  • Groceries from supermarkets, buying bulk and cooking at home are always cheaper.

Healthcare

New Zealand's public healthcare system is heavily subsidised by the government, making many services free or low-cost for citizens, residents and some visa holders. As a Parent Residency Visa holder, you receive the same benefits as citizens.  

Enrolling with your local General Practitioner (GP) is free and easy. However, GPs do charge for a consultation. You're never far from primary health care, with local clinics in every city, town, and suburb. 

Prescription charges are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. If your doctor prescribes beyond approved lists, you may incur higher costs, but that is not true for most prescriptions. Either way, you can use insurance to cover all or part of these modest costs.

If you are faced with an immediately life-threatening illness or accident, you will receive immediate world-class care in the public system. But if faced with an "elective" (that is, not immediately life-threatening) problem, say varicose veins, you may find yourself on a "waiting list" for service in the public system, in which case you may elect to have immediate treatment in a private hospital.

Dental Care

Dentists are not part of the free public health care system. However, children can get free basic dentistry care until they're 18.         

Dental care is provided by oral health care practitioners, such as dentists and orthodontists, in private practices. Fees can vary widely, so remember to ask about them when looking for a dentist.

Transport

The most common mode of transport in New Zealand is a private vehicle. However, you must have the correct driver's licence to drive a car in New Zealand. New Zealand accepts driving on a foreign license but does enforce a 12-month limit to update your licence to a Kiwi one. 

Although much of the country requires your vehicle to get around, public transport is widely available in all cities and towns. 

In addition, you can also get around many cities with a bike. Some places are more accommodating for cycling than others, like Christchurch. However, there is usually at least enough infrastructure for bicycles to make them a viable means of transport all around the country.

Accommodation

Accommodation in New Zealand can come in many different forms at a wide price range, depending on location. For parents with residency visas, you are not just limited to renting but may be eligible for purchasing property as well, as typically only NZ Citizens, Resident Visa holders and a small group of other individuals can buy Residential Property.

New Zealand has a mix of housing types, ranging from standalone buildings on a block of land (section) to attached townhouses and apartments. It can take as little as four weeks to go through the purchase process if you're looking to buy. 

So once you've found where you want to live and after a parent holding a residency visa places a formal bid, there can be no last-minute offers, which makes buying here a lot less stressful than in some parts of the world.

However, if you are looking to rent, we've listed some information below.

  • The average rental price of an apartment depends on the location of the apartment, the quality of the build, and the size of the property. On average, apartment rent ranges from $460 to $800 per week. 
  • The average rental price of a house depends on the location and the size. On average, house rent ranges from $520 to $1050 per week.
  • The average rental price of a room arrangement depends on the property's location and size. On average, room rent ranges from $220 to $440 per week. 

Is There Another NZ Parent Visa Option?

The NZ Parent Retirement visa enables parents to join their adult children in New Zealand. To be eligible, applicants must meet INZ's financial requirements of keeping at least NZ$1 million invested in an acceptable investment in New Zealand for four years.

While allowing migrant parents to live, work and study in New Zealand, it also allows them to apply for permanent residence after four years of keeping their funds invested in New Zealand.

Want to Know More About Parent Residency Visa Options? Get Advice From Licensed Advisers

Applying for a New Zealand visa doesn't have to be overwhelming. Reach out to our experienced immigration advisers for advice and guidance on the process.

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.

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Update

Migrant Worker Residence

Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrants Opportunity

Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.

January 9, 2023
Update

New Employer Accreditation Process

The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 19 July 2021

  • The median wage used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications increases from $25.50 per hour to $27 per hour.
  • Applicants paid below the median wage may be granted a work visa for up to 24 months. The usual 6-month visa validity restriction is suspended until mid-2022.
  • In certain cases, the labour market test is waived and in some cases, it will still apply.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 30 June 2021

  • Employer Accreditation and Approval in Principle applications are now closed.
  • No new Employer Accreditation applications (including renewals) will be accepted until the new process goes live in mid-2022.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Employer Accreditation Becomes Mandatory

Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From mid-2020 (delayed)

  • Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 15 February 2021

  • Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2020

  • Introduction of "Oversupply" and "Undersupply" occupation lists used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications when a job offer pays less than the median wage.
  • Employers offering jobs to migrant workers where an occupation is on the "Oversupply" list will not get Skill Match reports issued by Work & Income. Solid evidence of genuine attempts to find a local to fill the job will be critical for approval.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:

Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 27 July 2020

  • Essential Skills work visa applications are now assessed based on the current median wage (NZD $25.50 or more per hour.).
  • Job offers paying below the median wage require employers to pass the labour market test* and secure a Skills Match Reports from WINZ (work visas granted for a maximum of 6 months).

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 27 May 2020​

  • Regional Skill Shortage List goes live. 15 regions around New Zealand list occupations reflecting local skill shortages in each region. The labour market test is not mandatory provided the job offer matches the occupation and region plus the visa applicant has qualifications and/or work experience set out on the list.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:

  • Has employment paying double the median wage which is currently NZD $51 per hour OR NZD $106,800 per annum; OR Has New Zealand occupational registration and is required to hold valid registration to lawfully carry out their job.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 24 February 2020

  • Wage or salary thresholds increase for Essential Skills Work Visas applications lodged on or after 24/02/2020 (labour market tested; read more here).
  • Higher Skilled employment increases to $38.25 or more per hour ($79,560 per annum*)
  • Mid Skilled Employment increases to $21.68 or more per hour ($45,094 per annum*)

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2019

  • Base salary to qualify for a Work to Residence Visa (WTR) supported by an accredited employer increases from $55,000 per annum to $79,560 per annum (or $38.25 per hour).
  • Pay rates for WTR visas are now reviewed annually.
  • Work visa applicants paid less than $79,560 per annum by accredited employers need to apply under other work visa categories.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 1 November 2021

  • Work to Residence Visa (Accredited Employer and Long Term Skill Shortage) applications close.
  • Applications lodged on or before 31 October 2021 will be processed under current visa settings.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Mandatory Vaccination Required for Travel

From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.

January 9, 2023
Update

Employer Accreditation

Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:

  • Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence? No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:

  1. Settled.
  2. Skilled.
  3. Scarce.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:

  • Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Critical Purpose Visitor Visas

A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
  • July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
  • August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
  • August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

January 9, 2023
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
January 9, 2023
Update

The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
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