19 March 2009

New Zealand skilled migration will not reduce levels yet: PM

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The New Zealand skilled migration quota will not yet reduce its levels in response to the global economic conditions, reports The Age.

The Prime Minister John Key has confirmed that New Zealand still has skills shortages that need filling, and that at this point of time the New Zealand skilled migration program would not be reduced in order to counteract the slowing down of the economy. 

This week, Australia announced it would reduce its Australian skilled migration program by 14 per cent to 115,000 places.  While the Australian government sees the value in maintaining immigration levels to support growth in the economy, it has also responded to rising unemployment levels caused by the economic slowdown.

Key has said the New Zealand economy is still reliant on migration to fill its skills shortages.

"New Zealand needs skilled migrants to grow," he said.  "We have a skills deficit and while that may abate slightly because of the downturn in the economy and growing unemployment, we still need to make sure we have got enough skills to grow our economy and develop further."

He also confirmed that the possibility for an amendment to the New Zealand skilled migration program is always apparent, it is not on the government's agenda at this point of time.  Currently, the migration target for this year is sitting at 45,000.

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