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Immigration Announcement Overdue & Underwhelms

While it is a relief that the Government is finally opening the Skilled Migrant Category, this should have happened at the start of the year, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“Serious questions need to be asked about why this reopening of an existing visa category couldn’t have occurred months ago.

“National has persistently called on the Government to open the Skilled Migrant Category to support Kiwi businesses during the worst labour shortage in 50 years.

“The Government’s decision to keep the Skilled Migrant Category closed all year meant the skilled workers that businesses are short of, such as chefs, pharmacists and physios, had no pathway to residence. While the Government failed to take action, the skilled workers we needed continued to snub New Zealand for other countries such as Australia, which never even closed this category.

“Today’s net migration figures confirm that over the last 12 months more people left New Zealand than arrived, meaning skill shortages have worsened under Labour’s immigration settings.

“Additionally, there are serious doubts over the ability of Immigration NZ to process these residence visas, given that migrants are already facing major delays across every visa category.

“Labour needs to explain why it has taken all year to announce the same policy as in 2020, while skill shortages have continued to hurt Kiwi businesses, driving up consumer prices and holding back the economy.”

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