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Minister Not Addressing Serious Issues In Immigration

The Immigration Minister’s announcement today has only been made to give him more time to fix the complete mess he has made of the new business accreditation process, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“While this is a good, practical step to address the issue businesses are having in attracting and retaining staff, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi is using it to hide the real reason he is extending low-skilled work visas – there is no chance the new business accreditation process would’ve been up and running by the November 1 deadline.

“Details of the new accreditation process were supposed to have been released late last year. Those details are still not available despite businesses needing to start applying in September this year to meet the deadline.

“Immigration experts and sector groups have been pleading for months for the Minister to give them clarity over the new process but the information they did get raised more questions than were answered.

“Giving low-skilled migrants a 24 month visa now allows the Minister to push the accreditation deadline out to mid next year. It’s a convenient excuse to use rather than the real reason, which is his own incompetence.

“The announcement is also is a huge u-turn from the Government’s ‘Immigration reset’ policy, where the one and only vague detail announced was that the Government wanted to focus more on “high skilled” immigration.

“The mixed messaging from Labour is further proof it has no idea what it is doing in the immigration space and is causing huge uncertainty for businesses under severe stress from labour market shortages.

“Today’s announcement has been an exercise in tinkering around the edges by a Minister under pressure while serious issues like the huge residence backlog, split migrant families and the massive labour shortage remain completely unaddressed.”

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