Unacceptable immigration policy makes income a barrier to families being together

It is unacceptable for the Government to prioritise family reunification for high income earners, while forcing those on lower incomes to stay apart, the Green Party says. 

“The Green Party is calling for an end to the Government’s blatantly unfair salary based family reunification policy,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, Green Party spokesperson for immigration.

“Today’s immigration announcement once again puts the needs of high salaried families and businesses above those on lower incomes. 

“It puts a price on family reunification that is simply unacceptable. While we welcome the lowering of salary thresholds, the Minister has not gone far enough to make sure everyone has the right to be with their family regardless of income. 

“I don’t think anyone that comes here to work expects to be told that their parents’ right to come here to join their family will be determined by their salary.

“Essentially what the Government is saying is that if you come here to work in a big business where you can earn a high salary, then your parents can come with you. 

“Whereas if you come here to work in a school or hospital, then you could be forced to stay apart from your parents.

“Families thrive when they are able to be connected and Minister Wood needs to realise that it is not just high salaried families who deserve to be together.

“While the reopening of the parent category visa will bring relief to some families who have been waiting years to be reunited, it will permanently lock many from ever being together with their parents. 

“Many families live inter-generationally, where it is acknowledged that it takes a village to raise a child. Our visa system needs to acknowledge these family structures instead of continuing to benefit wealthy immigrants over the rest. Childcare costs in New Zealand are among the highest in the OECD, so these visa settings exacerbate disadvantage for lower paid families. 

“While we welcome the resumption of the Skilled Migrant Category, the increase of points needed to obtain residency will lock people out of residency who have been in Aotearoa for many years.

“The Greens will continue fighting for an immigration system that delivers equitable pathways to residency and does not reduce migrants to economic units,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

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