Verve Article - May 2017
New Zealand continues to be an attractive place to visit, work and live. More Kiwis are coming home, fewer are leaving, and more people from around the world want to come here. That’s a credit to our international reputation, and it reflects our strong and growing economy.
We’ve seen a significant turnaround in net migration from a net outflow of around 4,100 in the year to February 2012, to a net inflow of 71,300 in the year to February 2017. Population growth has been hugely welcomed in many regions of New Zealand; here in Auckland we’re conscious that the pressures of growth are creating many challenges.
A big part of the turnaround in the past five years is the fact more Kiwis are coming home (9,000) and fewer are leaving (28,000). We’re also seeing 21,000 additional Working Holiday Visa holders coming here each year, 7,000 more international students, and 3,000 more Australians crossing the ditch. We can’t - and don’t want to - stop Kiwis from returning home. And reducing the number of working holiday makers could jeopardise opportunities for New Zealanders wanting to travel or study abroad.
The Government is regularly reviewing our immigration settings to ensure the right number and skill mix of people coming into the country. We have a “Kiwis first” approach to our immigration settings. But, where there’s a genuine skill or labour shortage, we want our businesses to be able to access migrant labour to fill those jobs.
This month the Government has announced a package of changes designed to better manage immigration and ensure the quality and quantity of migrants remains appropriate. At a time of high demand to come to New Zealand, we’re raising the bar. These changes include introducing remuneration thresholds for both permanent and temporary skilled migrants to ensure we’re attracting migrants who will bring the most economic benefits to New Zealand. We’re making changes to Essential Skills work visas to reinforce the temporary nature of work visas and to help manage the number and settlement expectations of new migrants.
These changes demonstrate that the Government is taking a responsible, pragmatic approach to managing immigration.