04 July 2006

New Zealand ready to accept more skilled workers

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New Zealand has announced they will increase their immigrant intake numbers to help ease the country's chronic skills shortages.

The 2006/07 financial door will see the Government throw open their doors to a maximum of 52,000 new migrants, the highest intake for 4 years. Skilled and business immigrants were being allocated 60 per cent of the new target, with family reunion and sponsored migrants accounting for 30 per cent.

Immigration Minister David Cunliffe is hopeful an increased intake can solve acute shortages that have prevented many New Zealand businesses from developing further.

"More vacancies will be filled. This will help employers who continue to say skill shortages are a constraint to the growth of their businesses, and will contribute to economic growth," he said.

"More fundamental changes to the residence programme are being looked at by the government for the 2007-08 financial year.

"One option being considered is setting the residence programme in place for several years at a time."

To make qualification under the points system even more accessible to workers in countries outside the United States and Europe, the definition of recognised work experience under the Skilled Migrant Category will also be changing from July 24th.

The new definition allows points to be awarded for work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage, gained in any labour market. Previously, only work experience gained in a comparable labour market was recognised, unless applicants had skilled employment, or an offer of skilled employment, in New Zealand.

Applicants will still have to hold recognised qualifications and meet New Zealand registration requirements in their occupations.

Several occupations have also been added to the long term skill shortage list, they are;

Anyone who is interested in emigrating to New Zealand should visit the New Zealand Visa Bureau web site and complete the Online Assessment to see if they meet the basic requirements.

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