Immigration New Zealand will look into when it can resume processing parent category visas following calls from applicants wanting to move their parents here during the pandemic.
The scheme that provides a pathway for migrants to sponsor their parents to live in NZ was re-opened in February but got suspended because of Covid-19. There are about 6000 applicants on the waitlist.
"INZ understands the impact Covid-19 and the border restrictions have had on some migrants and their loved ones," an INZ spokeswoman said.
The category was stopped by the previous government in 2016 and re-opened in February with new criteria where a single person's salary must be more than $106,080 to bring over one parent or $159,120 for two.
A couple needed a combined income of $159,120 or $212.160 respectively.
It is estimated that about 80 per cent of those on the waiting list would not meet the new income requirements.
INZ started selecting expressions of interest from May, but the selections have been suspended until further notice because of the virus outbreak.
"INZ is continuing to reassess and determine when these programmes can resume," the spokeswoman said.
An Indian businessman, who earns enough to meet the income threshold to sponsor his 76-year-old mother, says he is desperate to bring her over.
"The coronavirus situation is out of control in India and I am so worried for her," said the man, who did not want to be named fearing it could affect his mother's application.
"What we need is for INZ to act now and resume processing so we can bring our loved ones here, and not wait until the pandemic is over."
In India, the number of Covid-19 cases is close to 4.8 million and nearly 79,000 deaths.
Another sponsor, Caroline Plowman, is also calling for processing of the category to resume so her parents Harry Altmann, 72, and his wife Annie, 69, could remain in NZ.
The couple have filed expressions of interest to apply under the category, but are currently in the country on a extended visitor visa.
Plowman said the uncertainty and fear of being forced out of NZ is very stressful to her parents.
The INZ spokeswoman said the couple currently hold valid visitor visas which was extended earlier this year to September 25.
"Visitor visas expiring before the end of October are being automatically extended by five months ... this will allow them to remain in NZ lawfully," she said.
"INZ expects to contact all people whose visitor visas were extended by the end of this week."
Excluded from the extensions though are critical purpose visa holders, guardians of students and partners linked to a work visa holder whose visa was extended previously.
The government has also agreed to pay for repatriation flights for migrants who are stranded here and can't afford air tickets to fly home.
These include workers who have lost their jobs and visitors who have run out of funds.
The NZ Association for Migration and Investment estimates around 7000 people could take up the offer.
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Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced on Saturday that criteria for overseas workers being allowed through the border will be loosened.
The Government will remove the requirement for "the skills, qualifications or work experience to have been gained overseas".
"Removing that requirement will allow entry, in some limited cases, where, for example, a worker has skills which are obtainable in New Zealand but they have unique experience gained overseas which would bring unique expertise to New Zealand businesses," Faafoi said.
He said the change would allow businesses to access critical staff whose skills are not easily obtainable here.