Would-be New Zealand migrants with skills needed in the regions targeted

Would-be New Zealand migrants with skills needed in the regions targeted

Would-be New Zealand migrants with skills needed in the regions targeted

Would-be New Zealand migrants with skills needed in the regions targeted

Would-be migrants wishing to fill skills shortages in the regions may get a helping hand from the Government to move to New Zealand, the new immigration minister has indicated.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway revealed regionalising skilled migration will be one of his top priorities.

Among the changes will be doing away with a “one size fits all” skills shortage list and the introduction of different lists for different regions.

“We can have a skills shortage list that is relevant to Southland, Taranaki and Northland, and they all will be quite different,” Lees-Galloway said.

“This is so that we can have a more adaptable system that allows regions to identify the skills they need and get the people that they need, and also help us relieve some of the pressure on Auckland and encourage people to settle in other parts of the country.”

The minister also signalled the biggest changes could come in the student pathway to residence.

“People who come through the student pathway tend to end up in low-paying jobs and they stay in low-paying jobs, and they are vulnerable to exploitation and they remain vulnerable to exploitation over the long term,” Lees-Galloway said.

“Whereas people who come from overseas with higher skills and qualification levels, they are the ones getting the positive outcomes.”

But changes to student visa rules would not affect those already in the country, he said.

“I take a very strong view that once people are in the country we have a duty of care to them,” said Lees-Galloway.

“People who have already come to New Zealand under the old rules, we will grandparent those rules.”

The minister indicated that the new income threshold introduced by National just before the election that required migrants to earn more than $48,859 to qualify for a skilled migrant category visa could go.

“I am unconvinced by that approach,” he said. “I don’t think much of the income threshold as a proxy for skills… I’ve asked my officials to bring me the evidence that’s been provided to the previous minister around that decision.”

Lees-Galloway said that under his watch, tackling migrant and student exploitation would also be prioritised.

This would include weeding out low-quality education providers, taking a firmer approach with labour market tests and ensuring better matches between the skills and talents of migrants with the skills New Zealand needs, he said.

“We have a pretty woeful record of allowing migrants to become used as a vulnerable, exploitable workforce in New Zealand.”

The minister added that he was not concerned about too many migrants coming from a particular country or region.

“We are focused on the skills that people have, not where they come from.”

Lees-Galloway said he would be looking through various proposals, and changes to policy and rules would be announced early next year.

Massey University sociologist and immigration expert Paul Spoonley said it would be a huge challenge for the Government to regionalise migration.

“There is value in asking regions to identify the skills shortages for the region, but the question is who would do this,” he said.

“Our research experience is that some industries and employers are not very good at projecting future skill shortages, and then how do you get immigrants to go to those regions.”

Spoonley said immigration priorities should be focused on selecting immigrants who would contribute to New Zealand both economically and socially, and be ensuring they settle in and contribute.

“We have not invested as much as Canada or Australia in terms of settling immigrants,” he said.

“Tackling exploitation is important, but making sure the selection policy settings are right and helping immigrants settle should be priorities.”

Net migration rose to 70,700 in October from 70,300 the previous year, according to figures released this week by Statistics New Zealand.

It showed 72,100 non-citizens arrived in the year while 1400 New Zealanders left.

During the election campaign, Labour said it would cut immigration by up to 30,000 people – but has since backtracked saying it was an estimate and not a target.

“The previous Government made policy changes in October last year and again this year which will reduce immigration numbers,” Spoonley said.

“I never expected the Government to immediately cut 30,000 from the net immigration numbers; it would be too disruptive to industries.”

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Annual Net Migration Remains High in October

Annual Net Migration Remains High in October

Annual Net Migration Remains High in October

Annual Net Migration Remains High in October

New Zealand saw a net gain of 70,700 migrants for the year ended October 2017, with 131,600 migrant arrivals and 61,000 migrant departures, Stats NZ said today.

Net migration remained high by historical standards but was lower than the peak of 72,400 in the July 2017 year.

“Non-New Zealand citizen migrant arrivals continued to drive the high net migration levels,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “The fall in annual net migration from the peak in the July 2017 year was mainly caused by an increase in non-New Zealand citizen migrant departures.”

A record 27,400 non-New Zealand citizen migrants departed in the October 2017 year, up 1.6 percent from the September 2017 year and up 22 percent from the October 2016 year.

Outcomes-based net migration

This release includes an outcomes-based measure of migration called the 12/16-month rule. This new measure defines migrants by how long they actually stay in New Zealand, rather than how long they say they intend to stay.

The 12/16-month rule showed net migration in the June 2016 year was 65,100, compared with 69,100 as defined by the permanent and long-term (PLT) migration measure. June 2016 is the most recently available period for outcomes-based migration due to the 17-month lag in producing migration figures by the 12/16-month rule.

The PLT method for classifying migrants defines a migrant as somebody who states on their arrival card that they intend to be in New Zealand for more than a year.

Often, travellers’ stated intentions do not match with what they actually do in terms of staying in New Zealand. For example, people classified as overseas visitors by the PLT measure will be classified as migrants by the outcomes-based measure if they stay in New Zealand longer than they originally intended (for more than 12 out of the next 16 months).

“Using an outcomes-based measure of defining migrants gives a clearer picture of the migration patterns in New Zealand,” Mr. Dolan said. “The release this month is the first release to include the regular outcomes-based migration series.”

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Changes in immigration rules to Australia from March 2018

Changes in immigration rules to Australia from March 2018

Changes in immigration rules to Australia from March 2018

Changes in immigration rules to Australia from March 2018

As the Australian DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Patrol) removes the 457 visa in March 2018 to replace it with the new TSS (Temporary Skills Shortage), the ENS (Employer Nomination Scheme) and RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visas will also be reformed, limiting eligibility criteria for future visa applicants.

As per the DIBP’s new announcement to these changes on 8 – 10 November at the National Migration Conference, the TSS visa will be enforced within the first fortnight of March 2018.

The TSS visa will be of two types – the STSOL (Short-Term Skilled Occupations List) and the MLTSSL (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List). Occupations that would be included in the STSOL are Advertising Specialist, Advertising Manager, Finance Manager, Human Resource Manager, Management Consultant Research and Development Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager and others.

According to lexology.com, the Department of Employment will update the occupation lists every six months, as the next review is slated to take place in January 2018. The MLTSSL will not, however, see any changes during the January 2018 review as per the Department of Employment’s indications.

On the other hand, it is being suggested adding five occupations to the STSOL and expel four occupations from it. The occupations that could be removed include Accommodation and Hospitality Managers, Building Associate, Recruitment Consultant and Hair/Beauty Salon Manager.

With the TSS visa, an intention is being shown to allow visa applicants flexibility to change employers during their visa tenure.

Meanwhile, occupations belonging to the STSOL qualify for a two-year visa, with plans for only one onshore renewal to be made available for an additional two years. The DIBP has hinted that if one applies to renew offshore, the one-time restriction will not be applicable. Occupations falling under the MLTSSL qualify for a four-year visa.

Only people working on the MLTSSL will be eligible for a pathway to permanent residency after they complete three years.

Subject to ratification by Parliament, employers would need to pay a levy to the Skilling Australians Fund per person annually from March 2018. It would require employers having annual revenues of less than AUD10 million to pay AUD1, 200 per year. Employers earning more than that would need to pay AUD1, 800 per year. In other words, employers nominating people for four-year visas must pay fourfold the yearly levy entirely at the time of nomination.

Only the training levy needs to be paid by employers who will be holding their Standard Business Sponsorship for less than twelve months in March 2018. For less than a year, they will not be required to provide evidence of meeting the training requirements.

In occupations belonging to the STSOL, a minimum score of 5 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or equivalent test, with at least 4.5 in each

component is necessary.In occupations falling under the MLTSSL, in IELTS or equivalent test, a minimum score 5 in each of the test components is required.

Two years of work experience appropriate to the particular occupation is needed for applicants. Flexibility would be exercised by the DIBP to assess what is applicable.

It is required that employers pay applicants the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold and the market salary rate, which was fixed in April 2016 at AUD53, 900.

It will be ensured that employers will not discriminate against native Australians.

For existing holders of 457 visas, the DIBP has announced that people who had held, or were applicants for a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 and who intend to apply through the Temporary Residence Transition stream for permanent residency, the age limit will still be 50, no restrictions will be placed on occupations, provided applicants are holding the same position and are working with the same employer as their 457 and their required work experience will continue to be two years.

Eligible for the ENS Direct Entry stream March 2018 onwards will only be occupations on the MLTSSL.

March 2018 onwards employers will need to pay a levy of AUD 5,000 per year to the Skilling Australians Fund, if they have an annual turnover of more than AUD10 million. Businesses with annual revenues of less than AUD10 million need to pay only AUD 3,000 per year.

All existing 457 visa holders also need to score a minimum 6 in each of the components of IELTS exam or equivalent test. It has been raised from the previous minimum of 6, and also the waiver will be removed for applicants earning an income of more than AUD 180,000.

In addition, applicants need to have three years of work experience appropriate to the particular occupation from March 2018.

The maximum age for Direct Entry should be 45 at the time of application between 1 July 2017 and March 2018. The applicants should be aged less than 45 at the time of application from March 2018.

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