16 May 2007

New Demand for New Migrants to New Zealand

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Speaking recently to the New Zealand government, Immigration Minister David Cunliffe summarised the country's new plan to attract migrants from abroad. He declared immigration as being “vital for a prosperous future”, as New Zealand’s labour force continues to fall short of the number of workers and skills the country requires in order to prosper.

Mr Cunliffe’s speech revolved around his perception of the changing global environment, and the necessity to accordingly update New Zealand’s current Immigration Act. Unreformed for twenty years, he announced that the anachronistic legislations would be addressed, with a new Immigration Change Programme announced.

The Immigration Change Programme is described as a long-term vision for migrants, acknowledging their importance to New Zealand and managing the risks involved. Major changes will involve a vigorous review of the Immigration Act, which is set to be introduced shortly and passed by early 2008, along with the recently passed Immigration Advisers Licensing Act.

The Immigration Minister is optimistic that the changes will address the issues that critics have previously had with the scheme, with Mr Cunliffe promising “it will be worth the 20-year wait.”

The New Zealand Visa Bureau can report that a key focus of the amendments will be to address the current skills crisis that the country is facing. The Government has recognised the high levels of skill shortages in difficult parts of the economy, from information technology to tradespeople like electricians and builders.

There is also New Zealand’s aging population to constrict the working environment, meaning the economy cannot be sustained without the skills and investments that migrants can bring.

However, in order to choose the ‘right people’, changes will also be implemented to shift away from passively accepting candidates and towards an active immigration policy that will look to nations with a high level of desirable candidates like Britain in order to award visas to the most suitable people.

Anyone who is interested in migrating 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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