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Changes on the way to attract more skilled migrant

20 October 2000 Media Statement

Changes on the way to attract more skilled migrants


Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel today welcomed improved migration figures showing a reduction in the number of New Zealanders leaving, but said the government is also considering changes to the immigration system in order to attract more skilled migrants.

Lianne Dalziel said the immigration points system established by the previous National government had "demonstrably failed" to attract skilled migrants to areas where New Zealand had skill shortages.

"Latest migration figures published by Statistics New Zealand show an encouraging improvement with a seasonally adjusted net loss of 130 people in September, compared with 620 in August and 1080 in July.

"While the trend is promising, we must ensure that New Zealand attracts our share of skilled migrants, particularly in areas of skill shortages in the labour market. The previous National government's immigration points system has proven to be a blunt and ineffective instrument.

"I and my officials are currently looking at a number of options to improve our immigration system. For example, we need to ensure that a much wider range of trades and qualification were recognised when assessing the eligibility of potential immigrants. We are looking at giving priority to certain occupations where labour shortages exist.

"We have already overseen the introduction of changes to ensure that some trade qualifications and two year tertiary courses earned points. Previously they didn't.

"It is ironic that the National Party criticises this government for the numbers of young New Zealanders heading overseas on their OE. A major incentive for young people leaving New Zealand from the mid-1990s onwards was the burgeoning level of student loan debt – a problem this government has moved to alleviate," Lianne Dalziel said.


ENDS

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