New Zealand announce tougher Visa requirements

Posted on: 12 Oct 2016  |   Tags: New Zealand , visa , work ,

News released today reports that the New Zealand Residence Programme planning range has been lowered for the next two years. The New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) is the name of the organisation which manages residence approvals for the country and is divided into three areas which reflect the immigration aims of New Zealand. For the ten years to 2016 the number of people given residence visas in New Zealand has fluctuated between a little under 39,000 to over 52,000 with most yeas seeing between 40,000 and 50,000 given entry visas. For the year between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018 the planning range has been lowered from 90,000 to 10,000 to 85,000 to 95,000 which will allow more people to reach the threshold. This has led to estimates of around 52,000 people being given entry visas per year. The changes have varying impacts on the types of approvals with one notable change being that no Expressions of Interest will be given to the Parent Category pool from October 2016. This means that migrants can longer apply for their parents to granted access to New Zealand. Another change is the Skilled Migrant Category mark being raised from 140 to 160 points which means that skilled labour will now need to meet more demanding criteria than in previous years. The belief is that if the numbers of immigrants does not significantly fall then the calibre of the visa holders will rise bringing increased benefits to the country. All this change has resulted from a consistent increase in applications to enter the country and is an attempt to stem the flow of migrants into New Zealand. The government are apparently responding to public pressure to reduce the number of immigrants entering New Zealand but opposition Member of Parliament have criticised the changes as ‘window dressing’ accusing the government of not doing enough to change the restrictions. Meanwhile no changes have been made the number of temporary working visas awarded. There is conflicting criticism that curbing immigration will cause real pain to the hospitality industry and to rural areas of New Zealand which rely on cheap immigrant labour to service their business sectors. The rural lobbyists were already campaigning for real change in how productive employees on temporary visas can be converted to permanent visas more easily. How these visa changes affect the numbers successful applications and the business sectors concerned remains to be seen.

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