Labour has released new immigration policy:
Making immigration work for New Zealand
New Zealand is a country built on immigration. Migrants bring to New Zealand the skills we need to grow our economy and vibrant cultures that enrich our society.
We have always welcomed migrants to our country, and will continue to do so. But in recent years our population has been growing rapidly as record numbers of migrants arrive here. This has happened without the Government planning for the impact immigration is having on our country. After nine years, National has failed to make the necessary investments in housing, infrastructure, and public services that are needed to cope with rapid population growth. This has contributed to the housing crisis, put pressure on hospitals and schools, and added to the congestion on roads.
Labour will invest in housing, infrastructure, public services, and in training New Zealanders to fill skills shortages. At the same time, we will take a breather on immigration. We will do this by making sure that work visas are not being abused to fill low-skill, low-paid jobs, while ensuring that businesses can get the skilled workers they need.
• Ensure that businesses are able to get genuinely skilled migrants when they need them. This will include introducing an Exceptional Skills Visa for highly skilled or talented people and introducing a KiwiBuild Visa for residential construction firms who train a local when they hire a worker from overseas.
• Strengthen the Labour Market Test for work visas so they are not being used for jobs Kiwis can do, and make our skills shortage lists more regional so migrants coming in under them can only live and work in areas where there is a genuine skills shortage.
• Require courses for international students to be high-quality, remove the ability to work for international students in low-level courses except where the work is approved as part of their study, and remove the ability to get a work visa without a job for those who have completed study below university level. …
Read on for details and specifics.
Labour's fresh approach will ensure our immigration system works for everyone. Here's how: pic.twitter.com/KWTLGqJydK
— New Zealand Labour (@nzlabour) June 12, 2017
In The Herald:
Labour’s immigration policy targets 22,000 foreign students – but gives to migrants with experience
Labour leader Andrew Little released Labour’s new immigration policy in Auckland today, saying an “industry” of low-value courses had developed in New Zealand as a back door for immigration and it was damaging the country’s reputation.
The policy includes halting student visas for courses considered to be “low value” – a step Little said was to clamp down on “sham” courses which were a back door to residency.
While Labour is aiming to cut the numbers of young, unskilled or inexperienced workers, it is also making changes to bring in highly skilled or experienced workers – including a new ‘Exceptional Skills Visa” for up to 1000 people a year.
That is for those with significant experience or qualifications, or who were internationally renowned for their talents – in any field, not simply those who will contribute to the economy.
Labour is also proposing a “Kiwibuild Visa” for residential construction firms who agree to pay the living wage to an overseas worker and take on an apprentice for every foreign worker they employ – it has estimated that would bring in a further 1000 construction workers on top of current levels (about 7000 a year).
The bonus points given to skilled migrants who had studied or worked in New Zealand would no longer be given and points for age (which currently favours younger migrants) would be standardised to 30 for everyone under 45 – a measure Labour said would ensure older, more experienced workers from overseas were not at a disadvantage to recent graduates or temporary workers already in New Zealand.
Little said the reforms were “moderate and sensible” and aimed at reducing pressure on the cities while ensuring skilled workers continued to come. He said National’s policies had created a back door to residency through low-value study and work. …
Coverage by Stuff chose to highlight one angle:
Labour unveils plans to stop foreign students’ ‘backdoor immigration’ rort
Immigration restrictions on overseas students rorting the visa scheme as a “backdoor entry” into New Zealand would block up to 30,000 at the borders, Labour says.
The party has unveiled a major new immigration policy, which proposes tightening rules to limit student visas, remove work visas for some international graduates without job offers at the end of their course and regionalise the occupation list for all work visas.
“Closing off the ability to work during and after study for people who do low-level courses will stop backdoor immigration,” leader Andrew Little said.
Current immigration settings had “the perverse effect that a 23-year-old with a New Zealand diploma and three years’ experience in retail can get more points towards residency than a 45-year-old oncologist who wants to migrate here”. …
Cleaning up the mess that is far too much of the private tertiary education sector in NZ is long overdue.
I haven’t had time to digest it all yet, but on first impressions Labour has done a good job of trying to balance the needs: to acknowledge the positive role of immigration in NZ, slow down immigration while infrastructure catches up, and target immigration effectively.
PS – Check out The Spinoff- With the election looming, a new poll reveals New Zealanders’ views on immigration – some very interesting stuff.