“Labour has made the criteria for the Skilled Migrant Category work visa so difficult that even their Ministers wouldn’t succeed in getting one,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.
“ACT ran Immigration Minister Michael Wood and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern through Immigration New Zealand’s points-based criteria to see if they would qualify if they weren’t born in New Zealand.
“Both fell short of the 180 points necessary from January 2023 to qualify as a ‘skilled migrant'. In fact, they would seriously struggle to hit the current target of 160 points.
“For example, if the Prime Minister was a migrant who wanted to come to New Zealand to take up her previous job as a research/policy advisor, she would gain 20 points for her age, 50 points for the job offer, 50 points for her degree, and 20 points for at least four years work experience as a research/policy advisor. This amounts to 140 points.
“Applying the same scenario to Michael Wood, he gains 20 points for his age, 50 points for a job offer, 50 points for his degree, and 30 points for six years work experience as a union organiser. This leaves him 10 points short of the old requirements at 150.
“It would be Prime Minister Grant Robertson in this situation, as Jacinda Ardern wouldn’t be able to qualify as a skilled migrant.
“Labour has failed to explain why the increased cap is even necessary. If the Prime Minister is unable to meet the original criteria, surely they must realise that a 20 point increase is overkill?
“Despite what some Kiwis might say I doubt either Jacinda Ardern or Michael Wood would claim they’re not skilled enough or capable enough to contribute to New Zealand’s society, which means the criteria is not fit for purpose and is keeping employers from hiring skilled migrants who want to build a new life in New Zealand.
“With Stats NZ’s latest migration figures showing 11,000 more people are choosing to leave and build a life somewhere else than those who have come to make New Zealand their home, it’s clear real change is needed.
“Immigration policy should be simple to navigate and welcoming so that the New Zealand economy can grow and more locals can be employed through job creation and investment.
ACT would:Provide all occupations on the ‘Green List’ a fast-track to residency by removing the ‘work to residence’ divideSimplify the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by abolishing labour market tests, wage rules, and make it easier for migrants to move between accredited employers.
“The Government has had more than two years of effectively zero immigration, yet the problems and backlogs persist. We need real change to turn the decline around and make our country the preferred destination for ideas, talent and investment.”