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Policy focuses on high skills, high wages

Trevor Mallard
Immigration Spokesperson
28 June 2014

Policy focuses on high skills, high wages

Boosting regional development and lifting New Zealand’s economic performance toward a high-skilled high-income economy are key components of Labour’s immigration policy, released this morning.

“Labour is committed to immigration that not only meets economic priorities but which contributes to social objectives and to New Zealand’s vibrant multicultural society,” Immigration spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. “We need an economy that works for all New Zealanders, migrant and non-migrant.”

“Around half of permanent arrivals to New Zealand move to the Auckland region. We want to encourage people coming into the country to accept jobs or establish businesses in the regions, and we’ll do that by increasing the incentives to the points system.

“We are also concerned that a significant number of workers are being brought into New Zealand for relatively low-skilled jobs on low rates of pay. This not only leads to exploitation of these workers but undercuts the local labour market, pushing wages down for Kiwis.

“To address that Labour will require employers bringing in overseas workers to pay a living wage (after accommodation deductions) where the job offer forms part of the reason the application is accepted. This does not apply for the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) or Pacific quota migrants.

“We will also ensure RSE workers are paid at the rate of at least the minimum wage plus $1.25 an hour, with accommodation provided in addition to wages. Employers in industries with skills shortages and low pay will be required to be involved in implementing training plans before they are given the right to bring in workers from overseas.

“Labour will review the Pacific quota to ensure they are working effectively and that Pacific families are not excluded from family reunification possibilities. We will also move to facilitate residence applications for people who have been legally in New Zealand on work visas since 2009, and for their families.

“Because Labour believes immigration flows should not fluctuate wildly and where possible should be counter cyclical we will smooth out peaks and troughs through mechanisms such as the points system.

“We will also progressively increase the refugee quota of 750 to 1000 once current migration pressures have eased.

“Labour is committed to an immigration system that acknowledges the important contributions new migrants have made and continue to make to New Zealand society,” Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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