After waiting for more than three years for a government decision on family migration, grandparents had a glimmer of hope – before Covid-19 coronavirus removed it again.
The category of parents – giving residence to immigrants whose adult children already have a place to live – is start again in February after that it was suspended in 2016.
But the government stopped the ballot papers to select applicants in April, one month before the first one would take place, citing a pandemic crisis.
Forestry manager Megan Costello, an only child from Canada, lives with her New Zealand husband Andy Costello and their two daughters, Ivy and Zosia, aged eight and six years, in Gisborne.
After last October’s announcement that the visa application was reopened, the family decided to buy the house next to them for their parents, Shelagh and Jack Saprunoff.
“We are very happy,” he said. “Because until then, they saw a six-month visit visa, and suddenly it was, ‘they can move to the next house’.”
“We are quite hopeful because we meet the criteria and yes, there are four years on the waiting list in front of you, but you kind of think all we need to do is get our place in the line and eventually everything will get through.
“In terms of being transparent and fair and open it is only good to know – having statements like ‘we suspended them but we fully intend to continue this visa program’ or, ‘we will review this in three months’ or something. But only to ‘be suspended indefinitely’, we are truly returning to limbo.
“I honestly don’t know when I will see them again.”
Professor Deborah Levy, who applied for her English-speaking mother Betty Mills, aged 86, to join him six months before the category closed in 2016, is awaiting the first vote in May. He only knew that did not happen when contacted by the RNZ.
“I feel totally blind, confused and disappointed,” he said. “There was no communication from INZ, there was no explanation – only the announcement of undated web pages, and once again from hopes and possibilities became another vacuum.”
His mother was “fortunately stuck” in Auckland because he visited when the lockout occurred.
“With today’s world and reduced mobility, this might mean that once the mother returns to England the reality is that I may never see her again,” he said.
“That’s not good enough. It’s betrayal of its citizens, and the abuse of older people. The lives of people in limbo that are deferred create extreme pressure, and more candidates are eliminated, despite natural friction, through the possibility of losing the job of the sponsoring child . “
There were almost 6,000 applications when the category reopened in February, many waiting since before the category was suspended.
One in five applications has been withdrawn since February – many after discovering new rules mean couples must get at least $ 212.160 a year to sponsor two parents.
A spokesman for INZ said that since February it had received an additional 1,209 expressions of interest (EOI).
“The first EOI selection for the parent category based on new criteria is scheduled to take place in May 2020,” he said. “This was deferred in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government continues to reassess when EOI choices can occur, but no decision on this has been made.”
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