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What’s up with the Parent Category for NZ Residence?

The Parent Category for Residence (most common types) are temporarily closed for new applicants until further notice, meaning they will not be selecting new applicants from the pool.

Those already in the pool (Tier 1 and 2) will continue to be processed but there is a cap on the number of places. The number of places was reduced to 4000 for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 years (only 2000 per year). There are already enough applications in the pool and no more are being invited to apply.

You may have seen a recent update (31 May 2018) about minimum income thresholds in the parent category. From 1 July the “guaranteed lifetime minimum income” requirements under tier one of the Parent Category will increase to $28,166 for a single applicant and $41,494 if a partner is included”. (For where this would theoretically apply, see below). However, as INZ notes in its update, the parent category is (still) currently “closed”.

Income thresholds are adjusted from time to time to reflect inflation and changes to New Zealand benefits. Therefore, thresholds over a number of categories have been adjusted, including that one.

The income threshold referred to it is simply the income that would be required for those who have already submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) under Tier 1 (one option) and are invited to apply, or if it were reopened. Those already in the pool may be affected by the change if invited to apply and lodge an application after 1 July 2018.

The Parent categories Tier 1 and 2 work similar to the Skilled Migrant Category, which you may be familiar with. If you can claim eligibility, you can submit an EOI and if invited to apply, lodge all documents to show you meet requirements. Only 2000 applicants per year are granted residence.

Let’s look at the Parent Category (Tier 1 & 2) as it currently stands, despite not selecting new applicants:

Tier 1 Requirements for applicants (parents)


  1. Have a sponsor child (or their partner) with a minimum annual income of $65,000pa or $90,000 as a couple or
  2. Have their own guaranteed life income (eg overseas pension, rental income) of now $ $27,898pa or $41,046 for a couple (these are the amounts that will increase on 1 July) or
  3. Bring settlement funds to NZ of $500,000

Tier 2 Requirements for applicants (parents)


  1. Have a sponsor child (or their partner) with a minimum annual income of $33,675  and
  2. No other children in their home country

This is just a simplified version to give the general idea. Other terms and details apply. Please do not rely on this as policy.

 Can I/my parents still apply?

Technically you/a parent applicant can submit an EOI,  but it is not recommended as there is no chance of it being selected for invitation to apply at the moment and no guarantee it will be later, while you will have to pay fees which may not be refunded, and the policy could change.

It’s similar to SMC residence. If you have less than 160 points you could submit an EOI in the hope of the points threshold being reduced and being invited to apply, but what’s the point?

What are the plans for the Parent Category for Residence in the future?

We cannot tell if and when the parent category will reopen for new applications.
According to INZ, “a review of Parent policy will be undertaken, with the aim of ensuring that potential applications can be managed under the new lower cap”.

We will keep you updated!

What other options are there?

Parent Retirement Category

The Parent Retirement Category allows applicants to apply for residence if they can bring significant funds to New Zealand ($approx 1.5 million)

Summary of Requirements:

  • Invest funds/assests of NZ$1 million in New Zealand for four years; and
  • prove you own and legally earned or acquired those funds/assets
  • invest in an acceptable investment in accordance with the instructions and
  • nominate NZ$0.5 million of settlement funds and demonstrate ownership of these funds and/or assets; and
  • demonstrate an annual income of at least NZ$60,000; and
  • meet the Family requirements (eg child in NZ citizen/resident living in NZ)
  • Meet health and character requirements


Parents Multiple Entry Visitor Visa

Parents of NZ residents/citizens can apply for 3 year multiple-entry visitor visas to stay for 6 months at a time (while the sponsor child is in NZ).

Summary of Requirements:

  • Be outside NZ when applying
  • Have a child in NZ over 18 years who is NZ resident or citizen who meets sponsor requirements
  • Provide full medical

This is a visitor visa, which does not entitle the parent to work or claim any resident benefits.

This is just a simplified version to give the general idea. Other terms and details apply. Please do not rely on this as policy and always consult an Immigration Adviser or read current Immigration Instructions.


Until next time,

Jig Patel

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