New Zealand Tightens Visa Rules in Response to Surging Migration

New Zealand has taken action to address what it terms unsustainable levels of migration, with immediate changes to its visa rules following a near-record of migrants in 2023.

New Zealand Tightens Visa Rules in Response to Surging Migration

Also Read: Palestinians Relaunch Bid for Full Member of United Nations

In 2023, a 173,000 non-citizens migrated to the country, one of the highest influxes in recent history.

This surge in migration has concerns about its impact on various aspects of countries economy and society, including housing prices, inflation, and job availability.

The focus of the government’s response is the Accredited Employer Worker Visa (AEWV) scheme, which has been subject to immediate revisions.

These changes aim to strike a balance between addressing skill shortages and safeguarding opportunities for local workers.

Under the revised scheme, low-skilled applicants must now meet English-language standards. There’s a new emphasis on minimum skill requirements, which can be showed through work experience or qualifications.

These measures are designed to ensure that incoming migrants possess the necessary language skills and expertise to contribute to the workforce.

Another adjustment is the reduction of the maximum continuous stay for AEWV holders from five years to three years.

This shorter duration aims to prevent long-term reliance on temporary workers and promote opportunities for local employment.

They are now tasked with verifying that migrant workers meet the specified qualifications and skills before offering them employment.

Employers must demonstrate that no suitable and available New Zealander applied for the job before hiring a migrant.

While the revisions apply broadly, certain sectors, such as transport and care, may have exemptions from specific requirements.

Central to the visa rule overhaul is the government’s emphasis on attracting and retaining highly skilled migrants, particularly in areas experiencing acute shortages such as secondary teaching.

Immigration Minister Erica Stanford addressed the government’s commitment to balance between attracting skilled migrants, particularly in areas facing shortages such as education, while also prioritizing job opportunities for New Zealanders.

Also Read: Simon Harris to Become Ireland’s Youngest Prime Minister

The adjustments to the AEWV scheme show this dual objective, with measures designed to safeguard local employment prospects while still meeting critical workforce demands.

One of the changes includes the introduction of a minimum standard of English, ensuring that migrants possess the necessary language skills to integrate into the workforce and society.

A new minimum skill requirement in the form of work experience or qualifications has been implemented, further ensuring that migrants bring valuable expertise to the country.

To address concerns over the duration of migrant stays, the maximum continuous stay on an AEWV has been reduced to three years from five.

Employers are now tasked with verifying that migrant workers meet the specified requirements before extending offers of employment.

This includes declaring that no suitable and available New Zealander applied for the job, as well as providing detailed justifications for any decisions not to hire local candidates.

Certain exemptions apply to roles in critical sectors such as transport and care, recognizing the challenges and demands faced by these industries.

Some fear that the stricter visa rules could deter motivated workers from considering New Zealand as a destination, depriving the economy of much-needed talent and innovation.

In neighboring Australia, similar concerns have made the government to announce plans to halve its migration intake over the next two years.

Also Read: Prabowo Subianto Elected as the New President Of Indonesia

Top Sources Related to New Zealand Tightens Visa Rules in Response to Surging Migration (For R&D)

The Independent:

The Guardian:

Republic World:

BBC News:

News18:

CNN News: