Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi seeks advice on helping languishing children of skilled migrants

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi is getting advice about how to help the children of skilled migrants who are languishing because of Government residency delays.

But despite these young people withdrawing, dealing with anxiety, depression and isolation, Faafoi is not making any firm commitments to help.

Takoda Dell and Connor Parkinson are two of hundreds - possibly thousands - of children of skilled migrants caught in an immigration hinterland. They've been unable to work or study since they left high school.

"I've just got to find things to keep me busy but it's hard when I see my friends working, doing apprenticeships, studying at uni; and I could be doing those things, getting started," Dell told Newshub. 

"I just feel like I'm falling a bit behind," Parkinson adds. "We've just got to wait, there's not much we can do about it."

But there is something the Immigration Minister could do about it.

"Absolutely, but we're constrained by a lot of things," Faafoi told Newshub. 

He said he's asked for options on a workaround for the kids. 

Newshub has spoken to five skilled migrant families with teens in this situation. Residency applications have stalled and there's a near two-year delay.

Faafoi acknowledges the queue is blowing out under this Government. 

"Well, yes it has, because the demand has increased," he says.

But until the applications are processed, the kids suffer.

"That's the hardest part, that they feel so trapped," says Connor's mum Michelle. 

The Immigration Minister could fix it by giving them work visas to tide them over. 

"It would be great if they could get one," says Michelle. "It would be awesome because I know there are a lot of kids that would love to go out there and work; they don't want to be sitting at home playing Xbox - they want to be contributing."

Faafoi says the Government is trying to move quickly. 

"The fix for us at the moment is to make sure we can get through those applications as fast as we can."

But he won't commit to giving them visas in the meantime. 

"We've asked for advice for that."

Zero commitment means zero certainty.

"I think this is why we're feeling so desperate," says Dakoda's mum Kerry. 

"We can't even plan to say, 'Yes, let's apply at university because we know you're going to go there next year', but we don't know - we just don't know; if somebody could please help us to say, 'This is the plan'."

Newshub can reveal 51,702 people are waiting to have their residency applications processed or even looked at. Many of them are families with kids in this situation - withdrawing when they should be out there living life.