Mr. Iain Lees-Galloway, New Zealand immigration minister, revealed that he is making a lot of effort to ensure more skilled migrants become residents following a sharp drop - in thousands - over the last year.
In the last fiscal year, New Zealand's total new residents' number dipped to 37,948 from 47,684 with skilled immigrants accounting for almost three-quarters of the fall. This is a salient issue that requires immediate attention according to the immigration minister.
Addressing the huge fall in the number of skilled immigrants, June Ranson, Association for Migration and Investment chair, said the government should be blamed as it has been making it harder to get the country's residence visas. She said the tighter conditions are backfiring as she anticipated.
She continued to say that these people are a real need in the country and the possibility of moving from work visas to residents represents a great incentive. Her claim is validated by the increase recorded in temporary work visas.
Dark hand of New Zealand First
This is not what the government promised according to Michael Woodhouse, a spokesperson of National Party immigration.
He tagged the increasingly high numbers of lower-skilled workers with temporary visas but fewer skilled migrants gaining residence a perverse trend. He said it is sad that the significant fall in skilled migrants coincides with a time when they are key to the economy. He then boldly said he is sure the dark hand of New Zealand First is responsible for this unfortunate trend.
He pointed out that applications for residence were declined or deferred by Immigration New Zealand for spurious reasons according to employers seeking essential skills visas. He said though Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) said the government did not give any directive in this respect, they admit that the process is slowing down and quality of decisions are is below what it used to be.
In its defense, Immigration New Zealand
said the fall in skilled migrants was anticipated following 2016 and 2017 policy changes. The agency revealed the change was made to see that residence is restricted to highly skilled and highly paid immigrants.
The country immigration minister denied suggestions that the change is a result of government policy and assured the country that he is looking into the situation to see where they can make changes that will improve the numbers.
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