16 September 2008

Cosgrove: immigration working in NZ

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The Minister for Immigration Clayton Cosgrove said in a statement yesterday the Government's immigration policy is working well to maintain a high level of skill in the country. The statement is in response to his opposition’s public announcement that New Zealand is suffering a tragic loss of Kiwis, which was based on misleading statistics.

Dr Lockwood Smith, the National Party spokesman, claimed New Zealand has "tragically lost" more than 80,000 Kiwis over the past 12 months to emigration; however, Mr Cosgrove said his statement is false and misleading, and that overall New Zealand is benefiting from a positive net migration.  He also said Dr Smith did not factor in the 23,100 New Zealanders who returned permanently over the same period.

Mr Cosgrove also pointed out that the number of permanent departures includes international visitors on a Visitor Visa (that last for 9-12 months over an 18 month period) and young people on a New Zealand Working Holiday visa (which allow travellers to work and holiday in the country for 12-23 months, depending on their nationality).  Also, the number of permanent departures factors in young New Zealanders leaving the country on an OE who return home after a few years.

Once the factors have been considered, Mr Cosgrove said the overall picture of New Zealand migration is positive. 

"Under the Labour-led government we have been experiencing year-on-year consistent positive net migration, with more people moving to New Zealand than departing. There was a net permanent and long-term migration gain of 5,201 people for the year ending July 2008, for example."

"The migrants we attract also tend to be more skilled than the people who are leaving New Zealand. In the year to June 2008, 67% of PLT [permanent long-term] arrivals were in skilled or highly skilled occupations, compared to 62% of departures," he added.

The Minister said the figures are testament to the government’s skilled migration policy, which is working hard to recruit the skills needed by the country’s workforce and development.  The Labour party is also working hard to attract back those New Zealanders who have moved abroad through policies such as Welcome Home Loans, Working for Families, Kiwisaver and interest-free student loans, so that the skills they learnt and developed offshore can be brought home.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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