11 November 2008
Govt-elect in NZ promises changes to immigration
Last week New Zealand citizens voted to replace the Labour Party with the centre-right National Party, and the Nationals say their main immigration policy will focus on bringing people to New Zealand's shores.
National's Immigration spokesperson Lockwood Smith said his party would work to counteract the brain drain by encouraging Kiwis home and increasing the number of skilled migrants who move to New Zealand.
"New Zealand has tragically lost more than 80,000 people overseas permanently in the past 12 months. That is more than 1,500 people each week. The numbers departing have been steadily worsening. Departing Kiwis are replaced by new immigrants, which makes immigration policy critically important to New Zealand's future," Mr Lockwood said in a statement.
The new government's policy will focus on creating opportunities in New Zealand so that overseas Kiwis will return home with their developed skills, and prospective skilled migrants will look to New Zealand and have confidence in the country's world-class immigration services and job opportunities.
"National wants to assure potential immigrants, along with all New Zealanders and Kiwi employers, that they will be given an efficient, world-class immigration service that acts with integrity and produces the best outcomes for the widest interests of New Zealand. "
"In addition, we will implement the most attractive policies to maximise the number of Kiwis worldwide who want to, again, make New Zealand their home."
National plans to reduce the bureaucratic barriers to being able to hire seasonal workers from countries outside the existing Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme, if countries part of the scheme are not meeting the needs of the New Zealand economy. The RSE allows temporary workers to work in New Zealand in the horticultural industry.
The Party wants to introduce two new types of visa. The Silver Fern Visa would enable people with recognised tertiary qualifications to be in New Zealand for a short period to seek permanent employment in highly skilled areas that are of high value to the New Zealand economy. Silver Fern Visa holders may undertake temporary work while seeking highly paid permanent employment. The Retirement Visa would allow high net-worth people from overseas locations to live in New Zealand at no cost to the taxpayer.
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.
Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.