Parents in New Zealand's family sponsorship policy: a preliminary assessment of the impact of the 2012 policy changes
In July 2012 a radically different system for selecting parents under New Zealand’s policies relating to family sponsorship of immigrants came into operation. This paper assesses the impact of the new selection system on approvals for residence of parents from eight countries that together account for just over two-thirds of all parents admitted over the decade from July 2003 to June 2013. The policies that applied to admission of parents during that decade are reviewed, and have particular reference to the shift towards a stronger economic focus on the costs and benefits of a migration policy stream. The two-tier selection system creates two quite different sets of opportunities for family reunification amongst immigrants in New Zealandwhich are determined primarily by wealth of parents and sponsors. A possible long-term unintended consequence of these different sets of opportunities is the emergence of two classes of New Zealand citizens: those who will have an opportunity to have their parents living in New Zealand and those who will not have this opportunity for many years, if ever, because of the way the selection system works.