November 6, 2023

National’s immigration election commitments

The National Party made a commitment to change several immigration settings if elected.
National’s immigration election commitments

The National Party made a commitment to change several immigration settings if elected. The National Party have stated their policy proposals are aimed to boost economic growth or fix frustrations within the system. The policy highlights:

* 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 (combining job check with the work visa application).

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

* Increase the age limit for 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 skill shortages.

* 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 new Minister of Immigration will need to determine the priorities for change. Not everything can be achieved at once.

On our wish list:

Rethink the 2022 changes to the Investor Visa category. Migrant investors were introducing over $1 billion a year into New Zealand for visa-related investments plus follow-on capital of $2 to 3 billion. Now migrant investor funds flowing into NZ are down to a trickle.

* Refresh the Entrepreneur visa. The only visa category we can recall to peak at a 90% decline rate. We should be attracting people with capital, energy, and new ideas to help grow New Zealand businesses, big and small.

We will keep you updated as the immigration portfolio moves into new hands and when we learn of the government’s immigration priorities.

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