The often overlooked contribution migrants make to New Zealand is recognised in Labour’s immigration policy.
Maximising the skills level of new migrants is vital for social and economic growth, hence the policy not only emphasises the value that international talent and investment bring to the economy, but it also aims to address specific and known areas of skills shortages.
Our migrant population drives innovation, provides international business connections and reminds us that we are part of a global community.
The NZ Immigration Programme, introduced by a Labour Government and now 10 years old, stresses that.
However over the last three years New Zealand has gone from being a country with record low unemployment rates to one with a comparatively high rate. That means our policies now must be flexible enough to deal with rapidly changing labour markets and future local requirements.
Labour is committed to an immigration system that acknowledges that. To that end we will review the NZ Immigration Programme to ensure it is still meeting our needs across business and humanitarian streams.
Labour will also reverse the policy changes National made to visa requirements for temporary entertainment industry workers that do away with industry-led labour market testing, something that still applies to other workers.
Labour will also:
- Ensure the Immigration Service continues to market New Zealand as a great place to live, work and raise a family to attract people with the skills needed to develop and grow our economy;
- Review the entrepreneur category of the NZ Immigration Programme to increase opportunities for young entrepreneurs;
- Build on existing policies to ensure we are attracting the right talent to fill labour gaps while maintaining a focus on the local labour market;
- Investigate reasons for the increasing numbers of Pacific people with irregular immigration status and encourage those living here illegally to regularise their status;
- Enhance the Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme to ensure workers are properly paid and accommodated while here;
- Ensure we have robust family migration policies to protect the most vulnerable, newly arrived migrants;
- Develop an integrated national plan for refugee resettlement in collaboration with community leaders and refugee-led agencies.
Labour will also introduce a specialist Immigration Ombudsman within the office of the Ombudsman which would ensure adequate protections for migrants.
This person will have the power to, among other things, investigate systematic issues, individual complaints from onshore, and immigration detention issues.
New Zealand has a special role in the world, and in the pacific. Our immigration policy is based on the outcomes that will benefit us all.