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New provisions in Immigration policy

19 April 2001 Media Statement

New provisions in Immigration policy

The Government will introduce special provisions to immigration rules, allowing industry groups to employ skilled workers from overseas, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel and Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton announced today.

In making the announcement, the Ministers said the special provisions would be similar to those that already exist to facilitate the entry of skilled IT workers.

"The special arrangements for IT workers from overseas will effectively be extended to other occupations where a case has been presented by an occupational or industry group," said Lianne Dalziel.

"One issue that keeps coming up in economic and regional development is the skills shortage in key industry areas such as forestry. These provisions will go some way to addressing these concerns," said Jim Anderton.

Industry groups will be able to approach the Minister of Immigration to seek exceptions to permanent or temporary immigration policy in cases where industries or sectors were experiencing skill shortages.

The Minister for Economic Development will be involved in developing the exceptions.

"The Government's decision on this matter is a direct response to the Auckland Business Forum in October 2000.

"We have agreed that where sectors want to bring in skilled workers and those skills are not available in New Zealand, industries should be given an opportunity to present their case for special exceptions.

"We would need to be satisfied that there was a genuine shortage of skill and that the sector contributes to New Zealand's economic development. Industry groups will need to provide clear reasons why a special provision would be needed," the Ministers said.

The exceptions can apply to temporary entry or permanent residence policies.

As part of the process, the New Zealand Immigration Service will initially assess any requests under the new policy exceptions and will consult with the Ministry of Economic Development, and other groups as necessary.

ENDS

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