We posted on Facebook yesterday about the changes to Immigration. It’s an interesting article from the Herald and it’s going to be a talking point for some time. So I’ve put together my thoughts on the matter and jotted them down below.

It’s a great spin – looks wonderful in print if you don’t know how Immigration works, or choose to set aside reality in order to make the public believe you’re doing something during your political career.  A lot is not stated, and I’ll need to do some research to get the details, but as I see it:

  1. Skilled workers who take jobs in the regions will have bonus points bumped up from an extra 10 to an extra 30 points.
    The additional ‘out of Auckland’ points will have no impact on the great majority of applicants as they don’t need them to meet criteria.  They will assist borderline applications where there is no qualification, inadequate work experience or the applicant is getting towards the age limit. So 2nd rate applicants to the provinces?. But they will still need ‘skilled’ employment and INZ’s increasingly tightening interpretation of ‘skilled’ criteria will continue limit the acceptability of employment, unless they are also planning on redefining ‘skilled’ employment for the provinces.
  2. Those who set up businesses outside Auckland will be given 40 extra points, doubled from the current 20.
    The Entrepreneur Work Visa (EWV) requires ‘high growth and innovative businesses with export potential’.  Great to get if you can, but locating away from the major market does not make commercial sense for most businesses. Also, the last data provided by INZ showed a 7 month delay for an application to be allocated to a case officer for assessment.  Few vendors will risk such a delay.
  3. Until now employers could not communicate directly with Work and Income about overseas job applicants.
    This is simply wrong – employers not only can, but are required by INZ to approach W&I for advice on available Kiwis to fill positions, • Employers will be able to contact Work and Income directly to check whether New Zealanders are available to fill a particular vacancy before they lodge a visa application with Immigration New Zealand. Does this mean a possible freeing up of the labour market test meaning an employer only has to check with W&I and not advertise the position? [unlikely]
  4. A pathway to residence will be provided for a limited number of long-term migrants on temporary work visas in the South Island.
    This is long overdue – If INZ has been happy to grant work visas over several years, then they need to accept that the applicant is needed and the annual renewal of the same visas is a nonsense and denies long-term employees, the opportunity to establish themselves and join fully into NZ society. But why now, when we are advised that the Christchurch rebuild is slowing down?  Will we see it closed again in a few years when politicians receive complaints of migrants taking kiwi jobs? Again.

As I see it, this is another example of government fiddling with the fringes of policy, whether, immigration, employment, health or welfare, in an attempt to be able to play little-Jack-Horner on the cheap, rather than investing time and resources in the provinces to create employment and business opportunities which could enable the provinces to develop their strengths and opportunities.