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New Zealand set to tighten immigration rule

03-05-2012 15:24 BJT

WELLINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is planning to change its immigration rules in a move that could reportedly stop many mainly Chinese, Indian and Pacific Island families from living together.

The proposed changes were revealed Monday by the main opposition Labor Party, when it released a Cabinet paper that proposes new income and language proficiency tests for the parents and siblings of immigrant residents.

"There are some nasty surprises in this document," said Labor immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton in a statement.

"Titled Issues and Decisions for the First 100 Days and prepared for new Immigration Minister Nathan Guy and Associate Minister Kate Wilkinson, it reveals the government plans to tighten up requirements for family members seeking residency in New Zealand, while preference will be given to the better off," Fenton said.

"Parents seeking residency in New Zealand to be with their children will face tougher tests according to the income levels of both themselves and their children.

"Parents whose families have higher incomes will go straight to the front of the queue in a 'Tier One' category and face less stringent eligibility tests, while those less well off will be ranked 'Tier Two' and will face tougher conditions and longer waiting times."

"They will come as a shock to the thousands of people in New Zealand looking to reunite their families.

"Sadly it appears New Zealand is becoming a country where only those with pot loads of money are welcome. We roll out the red carpet for them, yet we make it near impossible for good, less well-off families," Fenton said.

A report by the New Zealand Herald said, "Tier-one parents will be eligible regardless of what country their other adult children live in, while the criteria for tier-two parents will be tightened so that only those who had no adult children living in their home country will be eligible."

The paper did not say how the wealth of parent sponsors would be assessed, according to the Herald report.

The sibling and adult child category would be closed soon after the Department of Labor - which oversees Immigration New Zealand - provided further details on implementation and changes to the parent category to be introduced from July, the paper reportedly said.

Last year, 36 percent, or 14,826, of all New Zealand residence approvals were family-sponsored migrants, according to the Herald report.

Of those, 4,036 were approved under the parent policy and 1,186 under the sibling and adult child category.

"China and India have been the main source countries for immigrants under the two categories in the past three years," reported the Herald.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy told Radio New Zealand Monday the government wanted new migrants to be self-sufficient and able to contribute to New Zealand.

There would be further consultation before a final announcement is made on the changes, he said.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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