Auckland, September 26, 2023
New Zealand boasts a rich history of immigration, with people from diverse backgrounds contributing to its growth and prosperity.
Migrants have played a crucial role in bridging the skills gap while enhancing New Zealand’s economy and society. However, many face challenges in maintaining close family ties.
ACT recognises these concerns and aims to address them through the introduction of a new visa – the Unite Visa.
It seeks to bridge the gap between migrants and their parents and grandparents, enabling greater intergenerational family support.
Challenges of migrant families
Migrants often struggle to connect with their families due to existing immigration policies.
The Labour Government’s ‘immigration reset’ and the closure of the Parent Resident Visa category for six years have sent a clear message about how migrant contributions are viewed.
As a migrant, I understand the psychological pressure this can create for those who wish to contribute their skills to New Zealand while fulfilling their duties towards their parents and seniors and providing opportunities for them to connect with their grandchildren.
During my years of community work, I have met numerous professionals who had to leave New Zealand despite the high demand for their skills here. For instance, a former Head of the Mental Health Unit at the Waikato DHB relocated to Queensland, Australia, and a Power Systems Engineer working on decarbonising power generation in New Zealand moved to Canada.
Currently, New Zealand’s immigration system limits the stay of parents and grandparents of migrants to short durations. This restrictiveness can be burdensome, especially during significant life events like childbirth, weddings, or coping with the loss of loved ones.
ACT’s Unite Visa seeks to provide a solution by allowing parents and grandparents to visit their children or grandchildren for up to five years at a time, with annual renewals.
A Sustainable Approach to Public Health
The ACT Party’s immigration policy is the only approach that genuinely seeks to reunite families while bolstering our economy with much-needed skills.
As part of our Unite Visa programme, ACT proposes an annual fee of $3500. This fee covers potential healthcare costs, which can amount to hundreds or even thousands of pounds, ensuring the well-being and financial stability of families.
The Parent Visa category has been a contentious issue due to fiscal concerns, including healthcare expenses and New Zealand Superannuation costs.
As New Zealand’s population ages, these pressures will intensify. However, the Unite Visa presents an opportunity to address these concerns. By removing unnecessary restrictions on parents’ entry while managing healthcare risks, New Zealand can attract skilled migrants and meet the rising demand for healthcare services. Revenue from the annual fee will be allocated to the healthcare system, ensuring necessary capacity expansion.
Unite Visa fosters family unity
The Unite Visa represents a significant step toward fostering family unity among migrants in New Zealand. By addressing the challenges faced by parents and grandparents in maintaining close ties with their migrant children and grandchildren, ACT’s policy promotes a more inclusive and supportive immigration system.
ACT’s vision is to create a world-leading immigration policy that balances benefits and costs while prioritizing the health and unity of families.
Rahul Chopra is a postgraduate in Public Policy from Auckland University of Technology. He is the ACT Party’s Candidate for Mt Roskill in the General Election due to be held on October 14, 2023.