Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has defended the government's plan to give New Zealand visa preferences to wealthier applicants.
06 March 2012
Politician defends preferring wealthy in New Zealand visa plan
Reports that changes to the New Zealand visa system will favour the wealthy have been defended by the country's immigration minister.
A cabinet paper leaked yesterday explained that under the new rules, those with higher incomes or the potential to contribute more to the economy would have their New Zealand visa applications processed faster.
The report's contents were condemned by the opposition's immigration spokesperson, who claimed report was proof of the government's view that "money is all that matters".
However, Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has supported the changes, speaking on a national TV channel, Mr Guy claimed the government would "make no bones" about favouring wealthier migrants in their immigration policy.
"We want to ensure that those that are coming into our economy can hold down a job," said Mr Guy
"Hard working taxpayers of New Zealand need to know that their money is being well invested not spent on people sitting around on benefits."
Mr Guy explained that the measures were intended to combat the number of people abusing New Zealand immigration privileges by moving to the country and relying on benefits despite securing the requisite job offer needed to be approved a visa.
"We've found that after a study we have done in the 18 months that a third of them have ended up requiring a benefit."
Under the proposed changes, families with dependent children or parents whose adult children are sponsoring their visa applications may not receive a New Zealand visa if they do not meet economic requirements.
"Make no apologies," said Mr Guy. "This government is focussed on driving the economy forward, where possibly we want migrants coming in that can perform in our modern day economy."
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.