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Temporary work visa improvements a welcome start

Changes announced today by the Immigration Minister to employer-assisted visas will help businesses, but more work is needed to boost economic growth says Business Central.

"Making immigration settings more responsive to the needs of migrants and employers is a welcome improvement by the Government," says Business Central Chief Executive John Milford.

"The Government's changes go some way to making the reforms recommended by businesses through the policy development process. Migrants play a pivotal role in fueling New Zealand's economic growth.

"Employers are particularly pleased to see the removal of the overly rigid ANSCO classification system, stripping out of bureaucratic duplication, and removal of inadequate regional skills shortage lists.

"Good progress has been made to start removing the restrictive three-year stand down requirement in some circumstances.

"There are still areas where we want to see further improvements, and we look forward to working with the Minister and officials as the policy details are worked on.

"We continue to oppose compulsory sector agreements. Voluntary opt-in makes such agreements more legitimate and allows individual businesses to tailor the requirements to their specific needs.

"Restricting immigration into our main cities makes no sense when large infrastructure projects and housing developments are crying out for the right skills.

"However, overall these changes will make it easier for businesses who are unable to find the skills they need and so rely on migrant workers.

"It is important the Government continues to clear the significant visa processing backlogs that exist and speed up approvals," says Mr Milford.

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