NZ regions ‘need focused skills lists’

The immigration spokesperson for New Zealand’s Labour Party says that his party would introduce more focused skills lists for the country’s regions.

During a visit to the Bay of Plenty earlier this week, Iain Lees-Galloway insisted that Labour would make skills shortage lists for immigration purposes much more focused on the regions.

Currently, more than half of new immigrants to NZ settle in Auckland, and Lees-Galloway believes this is starving other regions of much needed workers.

“We want to see the amount of migration into Auckland reduce,” he said. “We have an infrastructure crisis in Auckland. There aren’t enough houses.”

Under present immigration rules, applicants are currently awarded bonus points for settling outside Auckland. What’s more, regional lists do exist in the form of the Immediate Skills Shortage and Canterbury Skills Shortage lists.

However, Lees-Galloway argues that these lists do not include every New Zealand region, and are also not extensive enough. More power, he says, should be handed to the regions themselves to target the immigrants it needs.

He also stated that every skilled migrant worker brought on board by a New Zealand employer, would need to be matched with a New Zealand apprentice.

“Right now, we don’t have those people to fill those roles [so we need migrants for those jobs], but we will have those people down the track.”

The Labour Party has already signalled its intentions to cut current immigration levels by 20,000 to 30,000 people a year if it’s successful in this year’s election.

The New Zealand General Election will take place on 23rd September.

Article published 20th July 2017