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Graduates ideal to fill skilled migrant shortfall

Graduates ideal to fill skilled migrant shortfall

If the Minister of Immigration is serious about increasing numbers of skilled migrants he will make well-qualified international graduates of New Zealand universities a priority, says National's Immigration spokesman, Wayne Mapp.

Figures obtained from the Minister of Immigration show that in the three months to May this year, just 1204 people with 150 points have expressed an interest in migrating to New Zealand.

"That's out of a maximum annual quota of 28,000 skilled migrants," says Dr Mapp.

Applicants with the 150 points required will have a tertiary qualification and a job offer in New Zealand.

"The points requirement has gradually reduced from 195, which meant applicants would have a masters degree, 10 years' work experience, a healthy bank balance and a job offer," says Dr Mapp.

"This effectively squeezed out most graduates and most other well-qualified people and sent the message that despite their qualifications and even with a job offer the chance of migration was slim.

"Foreign students who are working towards quality New Zealand degrees are ideal migrants. They have made the first step - they are part of the community, they speak the language and, for the most part, they are young and enthusiastic.

"We need to send a clear message to graduates and to those still studying that we do want them and they can qualify.

"Under pressure from National, the Government has realised that it has to be proactive to reverse the dramatic decline in applications from potential migrants.

"An obvious source to target is well-qualified foreign graduates from New Zealand universities," says Dr Mapp.

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