The Government announced yesterday it was bringing back visas for parents of skilled migrant workers but with controversial new criteria.
A single person wanting to bring over one parent will now have to be earning more than $100,000 a year just to apply.
It used to be $65,000. To bring in two parents, applicants would now need to be earning $160,000.
And a cap of 1000 people qualifying per year has been set.
June Ranson, chairwoman of the NZ Association for Migration and Investment, which represents immigration advisers and lawyers told TVNZ 1's Breakfast today it’s an "embarrassing" move by the Government.
“They are basically taking the stance that ordinary people aren’t allowed to bring in their parents and it’s basically for the very privileged few, for the rich. It’s not a good look at all,” she says.
Ms Ranson says skilled migrants were encouraged to come into the country and would have been led to believe they were allowed to bring in their parents.
She says the Government has lost sight of the valuable support that parents give to their adult children in the country so “they can in fact go out and be working to boost the New Zealand economy”.
“It’s a very short-sighted point of view to be cutting this off purely for the rich people.”
Ms Ranson says as a result there will be people “leaving the country” and a ballot approach would have been far better.
However, later on Breakfast, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern disagreed with Ms Ranson and defended the Government’s decision.
“These are kids who are then sponsoring their parents. They [the migrants parents] aren’t accessing things like the pension, they have to be able to physically support them while they’re here,” Ms Ardern said.
“I don’t want parents brought in to New Zealand without their children to be able to financially support them, you know, we don’t want a situation where actually families end up suffering as a result because they can’t financially support their parents as well.”
She also said there were other visa categories for people to come in on.