New Zealand new immigration policy may not boost the regions

September 01, 2015
The economic advisor of New Zealand government feels that the new immigration policy would not help anything to attract migrants into the regions.

Under the new rules, the skilled migrants who want to go for a job or establish their own businesses need to have their points for residency requests approval. 


On 26th July the Government announces the rise in bonus points for migrant’s residency requests for moving to regions. 

The documents that were released under the Official Information Act, Treasury warned the government that the new immigration policy would not put any significant effect on the regional development as most of the migrants did not wish to move into non-urban areas.

The report came up with the statistics of migrants under Skilled Migrant Category who had jobs or been with job offer in 2013-24, 47% of them were living in Auckland, 18 % were living in Canterbury, 11% of them in Wellington and the remaining 5% of them in Waikato.

"Once a migrant has a residence class visa they are free to move around the country as they choose."  At present there was no system to make it sure that these migrants would have resided in the regions even after they claimed their bonus points.

Extra bonus points in small amounts also don’t seem to be helpful to those migrants with fewer criteria. To meet the requirement like age, education, funds or employment, large amount of points could be claimed. 

"Against that context, we don't think it is likely that many regional migrants who currently don't meet requirements will be granted visas after this change."

The new policies are drafted in line with the earlier migration proposals. During that time, the government considered increasing 10 to 20 points under skilled migrant category, but now it has increased to 30 points. For the entrepreneur visa, the proposal was to increase 20 to 30 points but had become 40 points under the new migrant proposals. 

New Zealand government approves around 20,000 migrants every year under the Skilled Migrant Category, majority of them are settled in urban areas.

The points are rewarded to those who are into in skilled occupations or migrants running their own businesses, As they are unlikely to be in competition with the lower level labor market of New Zealand.

This system will work only when there is shortage of labour, and more migrants are required, Shamubeel Eaqub, Economist said. 

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