New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

Immigration to New Zealand

New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

New Zealand says it will tighten access to its skilled work visas, just a day after Australia and the United States announced similar restrictions on immigration.

"The government has a Kiwis first approach to immigration and these changes are created to strike the right balance between reinforcing the temporary nature of essential skills work visas and encouraging employers to take on more Kiwis and invest in the training to upskill them", Woodhouse said in a statement.

"These changes are created to strike the right balance. and encourage employers to take on more Kiwis and invest in the training to upskill them", immigration minister Michael Woodhouse said in a statement, using the colloquial term for New Zealand citizens.

Just one day after U.S and Australia went through a major change in their immigration policies, New Zealand did something similar.

Anyone who earns less than that amount will no longer be classified as highly-skilled - regardless of whether their job may have been classified that way previously.

Permanent residence applicants will be allowed to claim points for jobs that are not now considered skilled, but are paid above the higher threshold. Anyone earning more will automatically be classified as highly skilled.

Mr Hope said proposed changes announced today - including pay thresholds to determine the skill levels of Essential Skill work visas and stand-down rules for lower-skilled migrants, would also reduce the potential for migrants undercutting Kiwi workers' pay.

Officials will also try to limit seasonal work visas to peak demand times, rather than for 12 months as is presently the case.

He said the changes to "pathways to residence" for migrant workers in the South Island announced today were also a useful response to particular labour needs in the south.

A one-off pathway to residence for around 4000 migrant workers in the South Island should be offered to those in the North Island in the same boat.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters attacked the changes as "tinkering" and "just a dog whistle to show they're doing something".

"All of that is very well, unless you are stuck in traffic for two hours in Auckland".

"We can explain away - why it's internal migration by Kiwis and Kiwis coming home and all of that sort of thing and the number of cars are growing".

"New Zealand is richer for immigration, but our public services, housing, and infrastructure can't keep up with the current record level of immigration", said Little in a statement.

The Government has argued strong immigration flows are a measure of the country's success and contribute positively to the wider economy.

Immigrants to New Zealand will need to meet a higher bar for residency after the government on Wednesday unveiled new rules to "improve the quality" of migrants.

The number of people allowed entry under the family category was also more than halved, and a temporary ban on applications under the parent category was also announced.

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