‘Be Kind’ doesn’t translate to the immigration ‘reset’
Immigration is becoming a serious concern for many. Last month, Immigration New Zealand cancelled 50,000 temporary visa applications, including overseas partners of New Zealanders. INZ has also ceased processing any applications for anyone overseas, with a few exceptions. According to Licensed Immigration Adviser Ankur Sabharwal, There are around 5000 post-study work visa (PSWV) holders have been stuck offshore for 17 months. 11,000 applications for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) have been queued since the end of 2019 and are still unprocessed. Another 11,000 expressions of interest under SMC after March 2020 are still awaiting the government’s attention.
That equates to over 77,000 people, or almost the population of Palmerston North, in immigration limbo.
In May, the government announced a “reset” of immigration, focusing on moving from low-skilled to high skilled migrants.
The government’s rationale is New Zealand had the highest reliance on temporary workers in the OECD, and the number of temporary work visas has doubled in the last decade from fewer than 100,000 to more than 200,000. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was time to discuss “on getting the balance right” to offer a better quality experience for both migrants and the country.
The government also plans to strengthen employer requirements and labour market tests before a migrant could be hired, so temporary workers were only recruited for genuine job shortages. At the same time the government announced immigration reset, they announced that 200 investors would be allowed in. As well as border exceptions for Innovative Partnerships Programme and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Investor Programme, which would allow representatives from global corporations to come to New Zealand and conduct negotiations with companies they wished to invest in.