These days we are getting a lot of queries from our valued clients as to updates within the Parent Category of the Residence Programme.
There is no straightforward answer apart from the fact that this visa category is undergoing substantial change. Previously the family categories consisted of the Parent category and the now closed Sibling and Adult categories. The family categories have been capped by the Government to a certain amount of approvals each year.
In the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 years this was set at 11,000 visa approvals. This cap is now being reduced to 4,000 approvals across 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.
It is important to understand that now as the cap has been limited to a mere 2,000 approvals per year, it is expected to take up to the end of this year to clear pre-existing applications already in the system. The cap on the parent category is founded on the Government’s need to not exceed the total number of approvals that the Government has set for Residence approvals.
Immigration New Zealand has been overburdened in recent years with the amount of applications in the Family Stream applying for residence. This includes partners and dependents of New Zealand citizens and residents. INZ has not placed a cap on the amount of approvals within this category, so the way to limit the Family Stream is to limit the cap on parents.
A review of this visa category is being undertaken at present by INZ to ensure that pre-existing applications are adequately dealt with.
Based on the backlog of pre-existing applications it is likely that INZ will be processing applications from the outstanding queue. This means that the old applications will be given priority in this year’s cap of 2,000 applicants. Any further applications from now onwards are very likely to be allocated to next year’s cap. INZ sees this as the fairest way of doing justice to pre-existing applicants on a first come, first-serve basis.
Overall, one can foresee that INZ will have to overcome the challenge of dealing with pre-existing applications and the stream of new applications while maintaining the cap of 2,000 approvals per year going forward.
For our purposes, we will need to wait and see how the system unravels once the parent category is reopened later this year as expected.