- ACT will introduce a new visa — the Unite Visa — that will enable parents to visit their children or grandchildren for up to five years at a time, with a renewal requirement each year.
“After years of cruel immigration policy that restricted families from being together. ACT is proposing a new visa that benefits migrants, families, employers, and the New Zealand economy as a whole,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The immigration reset was a cruel policy that has caused immense hurt. Labour politicians believed that if they kept the borders closed it would drive up wages and get more Kiwis into work. Instead businesses went to the wall, fruit was left to rot on the ground, trees went unpruned, and families were separated.
“Immigration is a make or break policy area for New Zealand. If the country does not have processes at least as good as those in major competitor countries like Australia and Canada, businesses will struggle to grow, social services will fail to deliver, and a spiral will take hold where it is even more difficult to attract and retain talent than in competitor countries.
“It is possible to make immigration policy a strength for New Zealand. ACT’s vision is to have the best immigration policy in the world, bringing talented people to our shores with minimal rigmarole enabling New Zealand to solve all of its other problems.
“At the moment, parents and grandparents of migrants can only visit under limited circumstances. A general visitor visa allows a stay of up to twelve months, but they do not have the flexibility to leave the country and come back (for example, to attend to unforeseen circumstances at home). If they intend on making multiple journeys, parents and grandparents can only visit for up to six months at a time, with a maximum total stay of 18 months in three years. A residency visa is also available, but migrants must meet income eligibility thresholds that are prohibitive for many migrant households.
“ACT is providing a pathway for families to be together again. We recognise that there are many events where family is needed – weddings, death of loved ones, childcare. We believe that migrants and their close family deserve to be together and support each other.
“The Unite visa will be available for parents or grandparents of residents, permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens. It must be sponsored by the child/grandchild. The sponsor would be subject to Immigration New Zealand’s existing criteria and legal obligations.
“The visa will include an annual fee of $3,500 that would go towards a public health fund. The public health fund will ensure that the Unite Visa is self-funding from a healthcare perspective. In future years the fee would be adjusted up or down depending on the level of healthcare cost for Unite Visa holders.
“ACT’s policy will help attract and retain migrants to ensure New Zealand has a competitive edge in the global war for talent. Doing right by migrants does not have to come at the cost of New Zealand’s own standard of living. ACT’s policy is designed to optimise the benefits of immigration while managing some of the costs and risks that have historically led to more restrictive immigration policies.”
Policy document is found here.