Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has almost $3 million paid as visa fees by applicants of the parent visa that it is holding on to. These applicants have been making futile attempts to get into the country for years.
The parent visa scheme was temporarily closed since around the ending of 2016, yet INZ is yet to refund almost 6,000 applicants who applied for the visa and paid the required fees.
Michael Carley, who is the Manager at Immigration New Zealand, revealed that the individual fee for a parent visa expression of interest is $490.
By this, the total amount in visa fees realized from the 5730 applicants who are yet to get a refund is $2.8 million.
According to him, the funds are deposited into their memorandum account and that the fees were basically for visa processing and did not accrue any interests.
He further added that the government is currently considering bestowing applicants — mainly, those with a current expression of interest — with the ability to opt for withdrawal and refund of fees paid.
Carley emphasized that INZ does not offer applicants a refund automatically when they withdraw their visa application, but that any persons choosing to withdraw may write INZ requesting a refund. INZ will then grant the refund if they consider it appropriate.
As it is, the total number of people who had requested a refund is not known since the visa category was suspended.
The children of the affected applicants have expressed their frustration on the government’s attitude on taking a stand on the matter and the way their parents’ issues have been left unaddressed for so long.
A petition on the visa issue has attracted over 6,000 signatures
So far, there have been more than 6,000 signatures collected for a petition for the government to end the suspension placed on the visa scheme.
David Barker, the man coordinating the petition and who also moderates a support group on Facebook for retired parents who want to move to New Zealand, revealed that he has been reaching out to MPs, lobbying them to come to a decision on the visa category.
So far, the petition has attracted 6,400 signatures and will close on January 31.
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