In theory – the Parent Sponsorship process is fairly straightforward.
Once you have satisfied all the requirements, it is simply a matter of sending in the application forms (Both the Sponsorship form 1024, and the residency application form 1000), along with the Medicals Certificates, police forms, forms of Identity, and money, and then you wait.
And wait. And wait a bit more.
Unfortunately, family sponsorship is probably the least important section of the immigration policy as far as New Zealand is concerned – so it is placed at the bottom of the priority pile.
The first thing that will happen once your application is accepted, is that you will get a letter advising you of this, and certainly at the moment, it will also tell you how long it will be before a Case Officer is appointed to you case. In early 2009 applicants were being given anything from 10 months to 2 years as a guide. We were told it would be 9-12 months at the start of 2008. By the end of 2009, people were being told the wait for a case officer would be 18 months to two years. Bear in mind this time line is just for the case officer to be appointed. You need to add the processing time on top of that.
Now, I know that sounds awful but bear this in mind: no two applicants get through this process the same way. There is a huge amount of variance in the timescales that people actually have to go through and the ease with which they get through this process. It can be ridiculously unfair and stressful – but hang in there.
To put this in context, even though we were told a Case Officer would not be assigned for 9-12 months – one was actually assigned straight away, one of the medicals was referred and we were asked to provide some further medical tests within 2 months. So what they tell you isn’t necessarily true. (Hmmm – that seems to happen a lot!)
It is quite possible that the Medicals could get flagged as needing some further checks if your parent’s health is not perfect. This means that the medical certificates will be sent to a Medical Assessor to be reviewed. If the medical assessor wants more information, you will hear about this from your Case Officer and then you have to get the extra reports that they ask for.
This is where things can get really tricky, as it can take many weeks for the Medical Assessors to review the file and get back to the case officer. The system is a shambles, and if you get unlucky as we did, you could be in for a bumpy ride. On the other hand – other people fly through this process and get accepted really easily. From what I have seen with other people: if the medicals are referred it can take 2-3 referrals before they are happy.
It took us 6. So we kicked up an almighty stink.
But, despite what immigration may have you think – this is not usual.
Once you are through that – it is simply a matter of getting a letter of “approval in principle” which will then be followed by a final letter inviting you to send more money to NZIS along with your passports so you can get the coveted blue Visa Stickers.