21 September 2007

New Zealand immigration falling: skill shortage desperate

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Annual immigration to New Zealand has fallen to an 18-month low at the end of August, and with the skills crisis still ongoing, there has never been a better time to apply for a New Zealand visa.

The number of permanent migrant arrivals exceeded departures by only 8,730 in the year ended August 31st, according to a report released by Statistics New Zealand; the lowest net inflow gain since February 2006. Putting the number in perspective, last year the net immigration gain was 12,500 people, exceeding the figure by almost a full 50 per cent.

However, more tourists and short-term visitors came to enjoy New Zealand's spectacular scenery, buoying the economy. The tourism industry is an important sector, accounting for about ten per cent of the US$102 billion (£50 billion) economy.

In a bid to boost the numbers of skilled migrants, the New Zealand government recently changed New Zealand immigration law, making it easier for skilled British people to successfully gain a New Zealand visa on the points test migration system.

Bonus points are now available for people with a recognised qualification and work experience in an identified future growth area. Additionally, the number of years of work experience required to claim the bonus points has been reduced.

Further bonus points are available if the applicant's partner has a New Zealand job offer or relevant qualification.

New Zealand needs skilled migrants: Anyone applying for a New Zealand visa should begin by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements.

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