23 September 2011

New Zealand Immigration Minister faces backlash over work visa changes

The New Zealand Government has faced criticism from opposition and industry figures today following the announcement of its changes to the visa process for temporary entertainment workers.

New Zealand skilled migration

the New Zealand Government is facing criticism from the entertainment industry over the proposed changes to work visa processing.

The Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman has come under fire from his opposition Labour counterpart Ruth Dyson since announcing the changes yesterday.

Ms Dyson argued that the changes - which will see unions and entertainment industry bodies denied the power to object to New Zealand visa applications - will see an influx of foreign workers into the entertainment industry jobs market.

"We have an immigration process that is supposed to give transparency and protect jobs for Kiwis. Jonathan Coleman has turfed that out the window,"she said.

The Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand (SDGNZ) also reacted strongly to the proposed New Zealand immigration changes.

In a statement released today, SDGNZ said it is "deeply concerned about the implications of the New Zealand Government's move" and that "the new policy is not supportive and potentially damaging to the local screen and entertainment industries".

SDGNZ praised the previous system, arguing that having industry bodies and guilds monitor the visa process helps ensure that local jobs are protected.

"It is our concern that the new immigration policy will lead directly to the loss of jobs for performers, crew and directors. This will lead to a decline in our skills base and is clearly contrary to the Government's stated election policy of Kiwis First," the statement read.

The Government has acknowledged that the changes would take away the powers of industry bodies but rejects that this will have a negative impact on the entertainment industry. 

In a ministerial statement released yesterday, Mr Coleman said that the Government is "removing a redundant, bureaucratic process which only served to make New Zealand a less attractive place for the screen and entertainment industry to do business".

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

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