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Government poised to reveal immigration changes

19 April 2017

New Zealand says it will tighten access to its skilled work visas, just a day after Australia and the USA announced similar restrictions on immigration.

Federated Farmers welcomes the changes proposed to the skilled migrant category for residency.

Mr Cooper also says the new essential work visa policy will need careful introduction to make sure workers and their families already here are given sufficient time to adapt to the new rules - "or we can expect some bad outcomes".

The changes include raising the income threshold to be classed as a skilled migrant to almost NZ$50,000 (£27,500) a year, classifying anyone earning NZ$73,000 and above as high-skilled and restricting work visas to low-skilled workers to three years, after which a mandatory stand-down period will be enforced before workers can re-apply. Anyone earning more than $NZ73,000 would be classed as highly skilled.

Permanent residence applicants will be allowed to claim points for jobs that are not now considered skilled, but are paid above the higher threshold.

Other changes include limiting lower skilled visa holders to a maximum of three years, and classifying the partners and children of these visa holders as visitors, meaning they will only gain work visas if they meet requirements in their own right.

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New Zealand employers that rely on a largely migrant workforce could soon face additional struggles after the government revealed controversial immigration changes earlier today.

Firth said hospitality workers were not included on the list of seasonal occupations and that would be an issue for areas like Rotorua and Queenstown that experienced big seasonal peaks and troughs.

"I think [the changes] will reduce the number of people going into Auckland, but continue to enable those regions that are calling for more labour to get the workers they need".

The New Zealand government has announced plans to tighten access to skilled work visas to help get Kiwis into jobs ahead of migrants.

On the very same day, the US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order called "buy American, hire American" aimed at cracking down the abuse of skilled worker visa and forcing government agencies to buy more domestically produced goods.

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.

Government poised to reveal immigration changes