New Zealand’s Prime Minister has rejected calls to limit the number of work visas being awarded to temporary foreign workers.
In the wake of figures which state that 186,000 temporary work visas were granted to foreigners in the last financial year – 16,000 more than in the previous one – Andrew Little, leader of the opposition Labour Party called on the government to restrict visas as the country’s booming economy starts to slow.
“I think there is a case to say we need to manage immigration when it comes to our workforce needs in a much more agile, flexible way that meets our economic needs not just sees bigger and bigger numbers irrespective of our economic performance,” Little explained, citing the government’s plans to increase immigration by 5,000 this year.
However, Prime Minister John Key dismissed the call, stating that the economy is not overly reliant on immigration, and that the foreign workers the country attracts are needed to fill certain jobs.
“On the skills category, we have a ‘New Zealand first’ policy – we always try and employ New Zealanders first, but these [immigrants] are people that for instance are coming in as part of the [Christchurch] rebuild, they’re important in terms of our agricultural sector,” the PM said.
“So it’s much harder actually to get into New Zealand than people think, it’s just that we have a growing economy and a skills demand.”
Article By David Fuller