INDEPENDENT NEWS

Skilled migration in crisis

Published: Tue 21 Dec 2004 11:28 AM
Skilled migration in crisis
New Zealand needs a more disciplined approach to immigration if we are to get more skilled people contributing to our country’s future, says National’s Immigration spokesman, Tony Ryall.
Figures just released show that net permanent and long-term immigration to the year to November is down 56% on the previous year.
“At the same time we are facing the worst skills shortage in 25 years,” says Mr Ryall.
“The Government has no cohesive plan for dealing with this shortage. At the moment it’s easier and quicker to get unskilled relatives of new migrants or refugees into the country than it is to get people with job offers in areas of serious skill shortage.”
Figures released by the Immigration Service show that in some parts of the country it can take up to eight weeks to get a work permit. In Sydney and London a permit can be issued within a week.
“Employers are crying out for staff, but the Government is taking too long to process applications, and potential migrants are looking elsewhere,” says Mr Ryall.
“Our economy cannot afford these delays. Nor can it afford an undisciplined and incoherent Government policy that chops and changes every five minutes.
“The NZIS figures also show that 14,000 New Zealanders have moved to Australia, which is hardly surprising given their higher living standards and lower rates of taxation.
“If we want skilled people to come to New Zealand we should be processing applications much faster and providing more incentive, like lower taxes, for people to stay here,” says Mr Ryall.

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