05 December 2006

New Zealand unveils proposed Immigration Act changes

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New Zealand have unveiled proposed changes to the Immigration Act that it hopes will make it easier to attract skilled migrants whilst tightening border security.

The proposed changes to the Immigration Act were outlined in a public consultation document put out for feedback earlier this year, and the Government plans to put the new legislation for approval before Parliament next year.

Increased competition amongst countries such as Australia, the UK and Canada has seen those countries change their immigration systems and increase their marketing to attract skilled people, and now New Zealand has announced its intention to follow suit.

"We are very short of labour and particularly short of skilled labourers in some high demand areas of the economy; ICT, medical services, education and some of the basic trades," said Immigration Minister David Cunliffe. "We are crying out for people but so is the rest of the world, so we are going to have to compete harder with other countries to get the skills we want.

"We're going to have to be sharper about identifying the particular migrants that can best assist New Zealand and we're going to have to be more competitive about going out and finding and recruiting people we need."

Included in the poposed legislation were plans that called for:

The announcement was the first part of the Immigration Act review, with further policy on operational changes and the settlement of immigrants to follow next year.

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