Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
Culture | By Henry Herrera

New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

New Zealand has introduced tougher immigration rules for skilled workers and reaffirmed its new stance as Kiwis first.

Migration has become a hot topic in the lead up to New Zealand's September 23 general election.

Just 42.5 per cent of applicants earned over the New Zealand median income of $48,859 per year and 14 per cent earned over $75,000.

"Until now there have simply been too many worldwide students with low grade qualifications and poorly paid jobs - marginally skilled job offers - moving through the SMC pathway", he says.

In figures released exclusively to the Herald, a Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment sample of more than 600 skilled migrant category applications being considered as at March 1 found more than two in five would not have met the new income threshold. Anyone earning more will automatically be classified as highly skilled.

"The upper salary threshold of approximately $73,000 will mean that some farm managers who are highly sought after, and therefore highly paid, will at least be able to entertain the prospect of long term residency".

It will also enable employers to retain an experienced workforce that has helped meet genuine regional labour market needs.

Meet standard residence health and character requirements.

Toughening up requirements for the partners and children of these visa holders.

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The move from New Zealand comes after Australian Prime Minister scrapped its skilled worker 457 visa scheme to give Australian workers priority for domestic jobs.

The immigration changes also propose that seasonal workers get visas for the duration of the season, rather than 12 months.

"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.

"But in reality it's a callous attempt to hold onto power".

"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.

"That is why we are making a number of changes to our permanent and temporary immigration settings aimed at managing the number and improving the quality of migrants coming to New Zealand".

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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