New Zealand Overhauls Visa Program Amid Migration Concerns

Feature and Cover New Zealand Overhauls Visa Program Amid Migration Concerns

New Zealand announced on Sunday that it would be implementing immediate alterations to its employment visa scheme, citing concerns over the near-record levels of migration experienced last year, which it deemed “unsustainable.”

In a bid to address these concerns, the modifications entail the introduction of an English language proficiency requirement for low-skilled positions and the establishment of a minimum threshold for skills and work experience for the majority of employer work visas. Additionally, the maximum continuous stay for most low-skilled roles will be shortened from five years to three years.

Immigration Minister Erica Stanford emphasized the government’s aim to prioritize attracting and retaining highly skilled migrants, particularly in professions facing shortages such as secondary teaching. She stated, “The Government is focused on attracting and retaining the highly skilled migrants such as secondary teachers, where there is a skill shortage.”

However, Stanford also stressed the importance of ensuring that New Zealanders are given priority for jobs where there are no shortages of skills. She emphasized, “At the same time we need to ensure that New Zealanders are put to the front of the line for jobs where there are no skills shortages.”

According to official statements, last year witnessed nearly 173,000 individuals migrating to New Zealand, approaching a historical peak in migration numbers.

With a population of approximately 5.1 million, New Zealand has experienced a rapid surge in migrant numbers following the conclusion of the pandemic, prompting apprehensions regarding its potential to exacerbate inflationary pressures.

In response to similar concerns, neighboring Australia, which has also observed a significant influx of migrants, has announced plans to halve its intake of migrants over the next two years.

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