NZ Minister lays out immigration future

New Zealand’s Immigration Minister has announced that the country’s government will do more to encourage more migrants to settle in regional areas of NZ.

In his first major speech since becoming Immigration Minister back in October, Iain Lees-Galloway was also keen to point out that the government has been misrepresented when it comes to immigration.

“There’s been some misapprehension out there about the new Government’s immigration policies,” the Minister said. “I might even go as far as saying there’s been fearmongering: Fearmongering that is entirely unhelpful to business confidence, and unhelpful for understanding the opportunities we all have with a more flexible and targeted approach to immigration.”

Lees-Galloway went on to suggest that he wants to do more to better target immigrants who arrive in New Zealand ready to work in fields that are in need of workers. He stated that one thing that needs improving is the spread of migrants throughout NZ.

“Regional New Zealand does offer a rewarding way of life, so why wouldn’t we want to promote that?,” the Minister continued. “There are real opportunities for migrant workers in a number of industries where there are not enough New Zealanders available – construction, engineering and IT to name a few.

“The Prime Minister and I have been absolutely clear on this: Where a genuine skill shortage exists, businesses will get the workers they need.  That’s why we’re working on developing regional skill and labour shortages lists, and a mechanism to ensure that the visa holder lives and works within an area that is relevant to their identified skill.”

The Minister’s speech, however, was not so positive for international students interested in settling in New Zealand.

“We plan to strengthen the labour market test and review the post-study work rights of international students, to be followed by in-study work rights,” Lees-Galloway stated. “I am concerned at the growth in low-value courses designed to attract students who are seeking a pathway to residency. This Government plans to return our export education offering to one that is focused on providing quality education, not on being a back door to residency.”

Changes to the NZ immigration system are expected to be announced over the coming months.

Article published 26th February 2018