New Zealand to reopen borders and ease rules for high-skilled immigration

New Zealand will reopen its borders two months early and ease immigration rules to attract skilled workers, ending more than two years of strict entry restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jacinda Ardern government has implemented a ‘Coronavirus Zero’ strategy for most of the health crisis, including severe blockade and closed borders.

The Labour government said on Wednesday it would Elevator restrictions From July 31, entry for workers in certain industries, including healthcare, engineering and technology, will be eased and a faster residency pathway will be provided.

Entry requirements for overseas students will also be relaxed.

But the government added that rules for unskilled workers would remain in place and said the country should not return to its pre-pandemic reliance on low-cost immigrant labour.

The prime minister said the country was “completely open for business”.

“This will be great news for families, businesses and our immigrant community,” Ardern said, adding it would provide “certainty” ahead of the peak spring and summer travel seasons.

The Prime Minister also announced a new “green list” of 85 hard-to-fill high-skilled jobs, and extended 20,000 work visas.New Zealand business you want Hire skilled overseas workers The government said it would reduce bureaucracy and simplify the visa approval process.

But Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said the country “cannot return to the pre-pandemic trend of our over-reliance on an increasing number of low-skilled workers and resulting in increased exploitation of migrants”.

“Our plan is to build skills at home,” he said.

Erica Stanford, the immigration spokeswoman for the opposition National Party, said the government was not acting fast enough and not listening to business demands for better hiring of low-skilled workers.

“Business NZ had been expecting an announcement on how to get workers in faster, but they didn’t get that,” she told the NZ Herald.

The decision to ease restrictions comes after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raise interest rates It rose 0.5 percentage points to 1.5% last month, the highest single increase in 22 years.

A week later, annual inflation for the year to March hit 6.9 per cent, the most since 1990, prompting the Auckland Chamber of Commerce to urge the government to “change the suffocating immigration environment so employers can bring in skills to meet demand and build productivity and competition. force”. The country’s unemployment rate is just 3.2%.

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