By Mel Fernandez, Editor, Migrant News: www.migrantnews.nz
WELLINGTON – The government is tightening up visa requirements under the skilled migrant category with a raft of changes effective on 14 August this year.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said that the adjustments would reduce migrant numbers and increase the quality of people coming to New Zealand.
There has been a mixed reaction to the changes – the more strident attacks on the policy are from New Zealand First, the Labour Party, some migrant groups and settled migrants. On talk back radio, however, it sounds like a lot of people are in favour of the changes. They see it as a way to curtail the out of control housing and transport problems that have arisen.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters pooh-poohed the policy as “tinkering” and “just a dog whistle to show they’re doing something”.
Then there’s this diametrically opposed view from a British immigrant on Facebook: “… it’s a hard pill to swallow that immigration is the cause of our problems. If anything, the gain in tax revenue from immigration might just be the solution.”
The Labour Party responded: “We do need immigration as a country and it makes us a richer place both culturally and economically. However, it also has to be managed properly and there has to be proper investment in housing, public services and other infrastructure.
“That hasn’t happened and as a result our roads are clogged, we don’t have enough houses and our services are stretched. That’s why Labour is calling for a breather – we plan to slow down immigration and speed up infrastructure investment. That’s a win-win for new migrants as well as for people already here.”