New Zealand Targets Skilled Immigrants

NZ targets skilled migrants

Homes Worldwide
Wed, 6 Jun 2007 00:00:00 +0100
Written by: Kate Collyns

To compete with Australia's migrant recruitment policies, New Zealand has announced some tweaks to its Skilled Migrant Category, hoping to ensure that “quality” workers find it easier to secure a visa in NZ.

The Kiwi government today stressed that the New Zealand Residence Programme should focus on the quality of migrants, and be set at a level in balance with current economic conditions.

“New Zealand's immigration programme targets skills and productivity growth to expand the capacity of our economy,” said Immigration Minister, David Cunliffe. “Accordingly, I expect that the total NZ Residence Programme numbers for 2006-07 to be around 47,000, down from the 50,000 earlier forecast. I expect next year's programme to be set at about similar levels. At the same time, we are redoubling our focus on acute short-term skill shortages, with work on an expanded range of temporary skilled migration policies.”

The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) has been altered slightly, to find the best international workers for NZ shortages. “The SMC is generally working well, and is delivering high quality skilled migrants,” said Mr Cunliffe. “We need to keep testing our policies to find ways of improving them and better target the people New Zealand needs. The SMC needs to be well positioned to attract quality skilled migrants in an increasingly competitive market. International competition for skills is intensifying, with many countries, including Australia, investing heavily to pursue the same migrants. Hence we have done some fine-tuning.”

The latest changes to the SMC include: an increase in bonus points awarded for skilled employment, a recognised qualification and work experience in an identified future growth area; an introduction of bonus points for a post-graduate NZ qualification (Masters or Doctorate); a reduction in the number of years of NZ work experience required to claim the applicable bonus points; an increase to the bonus points awarded for a principal applicant's partner's recognised qualification and skilled employment in NZ; a restructure of how bonus points are awarded for study in NZ; the removal of bonus points for skilled employment, a recognised qualification and work experience in an identified cluster; a review of the list of recognised qualifications; and a more transparent and appropriate definition of skilled employment.

“The revised points more closely target the people who New Zealand needs and recognises, for example, that the partner of a principal applicant can be of significant value to New Zealand in his or her own right,” Mr Cunliffe said. Most skilled migrants in NZ are granted residency through the SMC, which makes up 60 per cent of the New Zealand Residence Programme.