Media Release: NZ Initiative welcomes immigration reforms

Media Release
19 April, 2017

The New Zealand Initiative has welcomed the Government’s changes to immigration policy, which were announced today, calling them a pragmatic way of ensuring businesses get access to the international skills and talent they need to compete.

Under the changes, Government will for the first time allow the wages offered to overseas workers applying for permanent skilled and unskilled visas to count towards their immigration points total.

“One of the challenges for the immigration system is telling two applicants apart. On paper a fry chef looks exactly the same as a chef with two Michelin stars, but in reality the economic value of these applicants are quite different,” says Dr Oliver Hartwich, Executive Director at the Initiative.

“By letting wages count towards the points total the Government now has a means of telling which skills businesses value most. The upside for New Zealand is that we get more skilled migrants contributing to the economy.”

The Initiative also praised the one-off pathway to residency for 4,000 temporary workers and their families already living in the South Island.

“A common misconception is that New Zealand only benefits from highly skilled migrants, when in actual fact our economy needs a diverse mixture of skills,” says Dr Hartwich. “This policy recognises the important contribution these workers have made to exporters in the South Island, and helps bolster businesses struggling with tight labour market.”

Today’s announcement echoes many of the policy recommendations that the Initiative made in its migration report, The New New Zealanders: Why Migrants Make Good Kiwis, which was launched in January this year.

The Initiative reserved judgement on the government’s proposed modifications to the temporary essential skills visa category, saying it is uncertain what effect maximum visa duration and minimum reapplication stand down periods will have on seasonal industries like horticulture.


Media contact
Simone White, Communications Officer
The New Zealand Initiative
Phone: +64 4 494 9109
Mobile: +64 21 2937 250

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