Despite the COVID-19 pandemic halting immigration in 2020, the latest statistics reveal that immigration levels have returned to pre-pandemic levels. In the year leading up to April 2023, New Zealand has gained 72,000 people, highlighting the country's appeal as a desirable destination for immigrants.
In this brief overview, we'll explore the migration policies proposed by some of the main political parties. It's important to note that this information is intended for educational purposes only, and any decisions should be made after conducting your own thorough research. Let's dive in!
The Labour Party
The Labour Party has recently announced their plans to introduce a new visa that will specifically target temporary workers who are currently working in sectors that have been experiencing significant shortages in the workforce. The party's leader, Chris Hipkins, strongly believes in the importance of strong family bonds and aims to provide ample support for working parents and their children by introducing this new visa. Additionally, the party proposes a new visa for parents or grandparents of migrants who are citizens or residents of New Zealand. However, it should be noted that time spent in New Zealand under this visa category would not be counted towards residency and would not qualify dependents or anyone else for migration to New Zealand. Furthermore, the party is also planning to launch a targeted campaign to encourage dental clinics to bring in overseas workers, which would not only increase accessibility of dental care for New Zealanders but also help alleviate pressures on the current healthcare system.
The National Party
The National Party has put forward a proposal to revert to the previous immigration target of 45,000 to 50,000 people annually. Furthermore, their plan includes the introduction of a new visa that would enable people to come to New Zealand with the sole purpose of starting a business. The party believes that the immigration process for skilled migrants should be simplified and made more accessible, especially in the healthcare sector, where New Zealand is in dire need of qualified health staff. To this end, the party aims to offer qualified overseas nurses and midwives an automatic six-month temporary visa to enter NZ without a job offer, allowing them to seek work. The National Party is also committed to supporting New Zealand's crucial agricultural industry. It proposes changing the rules for agricultural workers in the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by removing median wage requirements and introducing a path to residency for these workers.
The Green Party
The Green Party has placed great importance on family reunification and has proposed initiatives aimed at reducing the waiting times for families to be reunited. Additionally, they have plans to increase the refugee quota to 5,000 per year. In order to provide more stability for migrants, the Green Party is proposing granting residency to all migrants on work visas, those with expired visas, and those who lack long-term stability from the current system. The Green Party, co-led by Marama Davidson and James Shaw, is also committed to the preservation of Māori heritage and proposes amending the citizenship eligibility criteria to include all individuals who whakapapa Māori, regardless of their current country of residence or birth.
The Act Party
The ACT party, under the leadership of David Seymour, proposes that complex immigration policies will result in New Zealand struggling to attract and retain workers. It says migrant workers are necessary for businesses to grow and social systems to remain functional. The Act party, plans to simplify the immigration system by introducing a bundle of policies. These policies include abolishing temporary work visas and replacing them with demand-based pricing, prioritising migrants with existing job offers, removing restrictions on certain visas, and conducting an inquiry into how Immigration New Zealand uses its resources.
New Zealand First
Last of the major parties in contention for governance, New Zealand First is proposing a reduction in immigration to manage the country's resources better. They also want to require employers to pay a living wage to migrant workers.
These are the key immigration policies as proposed by the main political parties in New Zealand and summarised from their party manifestos. It's essential to do your research and make an informed decision when voting on election day or making any immigration decisions for yourself or your business. Sources and further information can be found at: https://policy.nz/2023/party-vote/policies/migration