New Zealand Tightens Employment Visa Rules

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New Zealand Tightens Employment Visa Rules to Curb ‘Unsustainable’ Net Migration

| Updated: April 8, 2024 15:23

The New Zealand government announced on Sunday a series of changes to its employment visa program, citing concerns over “unsustainable” net migration. The modifications, which include the introduction of an English-language requirement and a reduction in the maximum continuous stay for various lower-skilled positions, are part of a broader effort to manage net migration more effectively.

According to a statement released on Sunday, most roles covered by the Accredited Employer Worker Visa will now require minimum skill and work experience criteria. Immigration Minister Erica Stanford said in the statement, “These changes are the start of a more comprehensive work programme to create a smarter immigration system that manages net migration, responds to our changing economic context, attracts top talent, revitalises international education, is self-funding and sustainable, and better manages risk.”

The statement also revealed that migration last year reached nearly a record high of 173,000 non-New Zealand citizens, with the country’s population currently standing at around 5.1 million. The central bank, which has recently eased concerns regarding another interest rate hike, had previously warned that the population surge could contribute to inflation by increasing demand for housing and rental accommodation.

The statement also noted that the growth rate of the working-age population slowed in the year ending in March, suggesting that the influx of foreign workers may have reached its peak. The government indicated the possibility of additional adjustments to the visa program in the future.

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