In a press release this afternoon Labour has confirmed plans to slash immigrant numbers if it comes to power in September.
Leader Andrew Little made the announcement in Auckland – ground zero in New Zealand’s immigration debate – on Monday afternoon.
It says it will reduce net migration by 20,000 to 30,000 a year, which it says will “ease pressure” on New Zealand and Auckland.
Mr Little says without those changes, it would mean an additional 10,000 houses will be needed each year and 20,000 more cars on the road.
The visa category changes:
Student visa – limiting visas and ability to work for low value courses (drop of 6000 -10,000)
Post study work visa – remove work visas without a job offer for lower-level qualifications (drop of 9000 – 12,000)
Work visas – regionalise the occupation list, ensure employers hire Kiwis first (drop of 5000 – 8000)
Mr Little acknowledged New Zealand was a country “built on immigration,” but that didn’t mean changes can’t be made.
National “didn’t foresee” the record number of migrants and has failed to plan for it, Mr Little says.
He also criticised National for creating “a backdoor to residency via low-level study and low-skill work”.
“These have had the perverse effect that a 23-year-old with a New Zealand diploma and three years’ experience in retail can get more points towards residency than a 45-year-old oncologist who wants to migrate here,” Mr Little says.
“Closing off the ability to work during and after study for people who do low-level courses will stop backdoor immigration. We will end the culture of exploitation and corruption that’s grown up to prey on people using this route to come to New Zealand.”
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