NZ immigrants becoming less skilled

An official document has revealed that New Zealand permanent immigrants are less skilled than they were five years ago.

A report made by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials, stated that there has been a “gradual decline in the average skill level of new permanent migrants” over the last five years.

One of the main factors behind the average immigrant being deemed ‘less skilled’ has been a rise in the number of international students exploiting a loophole in the country’s residency rules, the papers say.

Under current rules, students can work in New Zealand after they finish studying. This has allowed some people who would not otherwise have qualified to get permanent residence, Official Information Act documents say.

The papers also warn there is a risk of students working full or part-time “displacing domestic labour and suppressing wages”, but there was not enough data to gauge the full extent.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has long been an opponent of this route to residency and wants to remove ‘back-door’ residence for students wanting to study, and then settle, in New Zealand.

“That there are some people who by virtue of studying in New Zealand, get points towards residency that helps them achieve residency when they wouldn’t otherwise based on their skill level, is of great concern,” he said.

However, the documents also outline risks to cracking down on student visas. These include less money for the international education sectors, and an uncertain future for some tertiary institutions, creating short term labour shortages and damaging international relations.

Article published 30th January 2018