Visa News
November 6, 2023

Immigration changes under National

The National Party made a commitment to change several immigration settings if elected.
Immigration changes under National

The National Party made a commitment to change several immigration settings if elected. The proposed pre-election policies are:

* Remove the “median wage” as an assessment tool in work visa applications.

* Reduce the number of steps in the Accredited Employer Work Visa process from three to two (by combining the job check with the work visa application).

* Shut down fair pay agreements – which would impact certain work visa categories.

* Increase the age limit for a Working Holiday Visas from 30 to 35 for more countries other than the United Kingdom.

* Roll out a 5-year multiple entry parent temporary visitor visa that can be renewed for a further 5 years. Insurance cover would be required to avoid parents calling on the NZ health system.

* Refocus international student attraction from markets outside of Asia (this used to be worth $5 billion a year in export earnings).

* Increase work rights for international students from 20 to 24 hours each week (to match our closest competitor, Australia).

* Reintroduce work rights for many international students and their partners (currently work rights are limited to a narrow set of students).

* Provide residence pathways for international students who complete NZ qualifications and secure job offers in areas of real skill shortage.

* A suite of new work visas for the tech industry, graduates from top international universities and digital nomads. Quotas would apply.

* Increase visa application fees to make Immigration NZ self-sustainable.

* Introduce priority processing fees to facilitate quicker visa processing times.

The 5-year (plus renewable for a second 5 years) parent multiple entry visitor visa will be of great interest to migrant communities. Families can reconnect and parents will have more certainty around how long they can spend in New Zealand. Conversely, by requiring parents to hold insurance, this will give the taxpayer comfort that the health system will not be burdened with extra costs.

We would like to see a revitalised Entrepreneur policy to attract businesspeople with capital, expertise, and energy to help New Zealand businesses grow and succeed. The 2022 changes to the Investor Visa are not working in the country’s best interests because the billions of dollars that were flowing into the economy are now down to a trickle. Time for a rethink.

The next Minister of Immigration will have a lot to consider. There will be pressure from multiple groups to move forward quickly on several fronts. The reality is there is only so much change the system can deliver at any one time. Provided the government is willing to consult and listen, there is a wealth of expertise in the immigration industry who are willing to contribute to smarter immigration policies.

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