New Zealand is currently in the grip of sweeping immigration reforms as the government attempts to quell the criticism surrounding the attraction of the ‘wrong’ type of migrant to the country. The government has been facing internal criticism, from politician and the press, that the surge in international students is lowering the skills level of migrants.
International students are now thought to make up almost 50% of New Zealand’s skilled migrants up from 17% ten years ago in 2006. The concern is that the increased in international students has led to the manipulation of the system allowing them to take jobs from low paid New Zealand residents.
As a result, sweeping reforms are set to hit the immigration system some of which are already in place. Already the news rules have lowered the annual residency visa intake to 45,000 per years and the points threshold has been raised from 140 to 160.
Critics have pointed to Indian students and immigration minister Michael Woodhouse has commented:
“The challenges in the Indian market are well documented and Immigration is having to make some changes to ensure the integrity of the visa system is maintained.”
There has been a slow decline of the traditional visa applicants from the United Kingdom and South Africa with these being replaced by applicants from India and there is concern that the skill set of the new applicants is not as high as it once was and that the system of arriving on an international student visa and then applying for the Skilled Migrant Category was causing issues.
Whether this is actually the case the government is under huge pressure to overhaul the system and make sweeping changes to ensure that the migrants that are being granted visas are able to fill the skill shortage vacancies adequately.