New pay rules for migrants
New migrants earning less than the median New Zealand income of $49,000 will not be classified as highly skilled, regardless of what industry they work in, the Government has announced.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has also revealed a new higher pay threshold of $73,000 - one and a half times the median income - above which any migrant will be classed as highly skilled.
Speaking in Queenstown, Woodhouse also announced the introduction of a new threeyear limit for workers in New Zealand on temporary visas, followed by a minimum standdown period before they could apply again.
Workers in seasonal industries would also have their visas shortened to the length of their work.
Woodhouse said the changes were about ‘‘attracting migrants who bring the most economic benefits to New Zealand’’ and managing the number and quality of new arrivals.
The Government took a ‘‘Kiwis first’’ approach to immigration, but wanted to ensure employers could fill genuine labour or
‘‘Attract migrants who bring the most economic benefits.’’
skills shortages with overseas workers.
Woodhouse also announced a one-off ‘‘pathway to residence’’ for about 4000 longterm, temporary migrant workers and their families living in the South Island.
The workers had filled genuine shortages and become well-settled, but had no pathway to residence under current migration settings.
Eligible migrants could receive an initial Work to Residence temporary visa, and could apply for residence two years later provided they stayed in the same industry and region.
‘‘Many of these migrants are already well settled in New Zealand and make a valuable contribution to their communities. The requirement to remain in the same region for a further two years after being granted residence ensures that commitment to the region continues,’’ Woodhouse said.
In October Woodhouse cut the target range for the number of people gaining residence from 90,000-100,000 down to 85,000-95,000.
At the same time he raised the number of points required for residence from 140 to 160 under the Skilled Migrant Category and cut the number of places available for those who wanted to join family members here.
The capped family categories were cut to 2000 a year from 5500 and he temporarily closed the Parent Category to new applications.