Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse announced changes yesterday to the Government’s residence programme for migrants for the next 2 years.
The changes include:
- cutting the planning range for residence approvals for the next 2 years by 5000 – from 90-100,000 to 85-95,000
- raising the points required for residence under the skilled migrant category from 140 to 160 points
- reducing the number of places for the capped family categories from 5500 to 2000/year.
Mr Woodhouse said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government is taking a responsible, pragmatic approach to managing immigration.”
That statement was made against a background of record migrant inflows – a net 69,119 for the latest 12 months, including a net 32,187 into Auckland. The net inflow has risen as migration to Australia – up at a net 40,000/year 4 years ago – has reversed to a small (under 2000) net inflow to New Zealand, and emigration generally by NZ citizens has fallen.
In a media release headed NZRP changes to strike the right balance, Mr Woodhouse spoke of the changes not as a response to the high immigrant numbers but as a standard review: “Migrants make a valuable contribution to New Zealand both culturally & economically, and the Government periodically reviews all our immigration settings to make sure they are working as intended. While we are confident our immigration settings are working well, the NZ residence programme is reviewed every couple of years to ensure we have the right number & skill mix of people gaining residence.
“As part of that review, today I am announcing a small change to the total number of people gaining residence. We will also be making some changes to better manage the skilled migrant & family categories at a time when demand for gaining residence under these categories continues to grow.
“Increasing the points required to gain residence from 140 to 160 will moderate the growth in applications in the skilled migrant category and enable us to lower the overall number of migrants gaining residence.
“Changes to the family category, including temporarily closing the parent category to new applications, will also reduce the total number of migrants being granted residence.
“Raising the points will also prioritise access for higher-skilled skilled migrant category migrants, ensuring we strike the right balance between attracting skilled workers that allow companies to grow and managing demand in a period of strong growth.”
22 September 2016: Net migrant inflow returns to 69,100
Attribution: Ministerial release.