Wealthy parents jump the queue
By Lincoln Tan
5:30 AM Wednesday Feb 16, 2011

New immigration schemes aimed at wealthy retirees have attracted 27 applicants who are prepared to invest a total of nearly $26 million.

The parent retirement policy, launched last year, has drawn 22 applications from nine countries, with the highest numbers coming from China and the United Kingdom.

Each applicant has to have a settled child here and invest at least $1 million over four years to gain permanent residency. They need to have good health but will not need to have health insurance, and as permanent residents they will be entitled to the normal health and welfare assistance.

However, the scheme has been criticised as being unfair, as applicants jump the queue of the regular parent immigration schemes.

MP Raymond Huo, Labour's Chinese community affairs spokesman, said the scheme gave New Zealand a bad look overseas.

"It is one thing for a country to be selling off its assets, but this policy shows the world that even our immigration visas can be bought," he said.

More here.