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Partner Richard Cunliffe along with lawyers Anna Stevens and Tanya Surrey from Mactodd Lawyers attended a Business Lunch with the Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway earlier this week. The Minister made several key points when addressing local business people.

  1. The government is focussing on stamping out migrant exploitation, hence the recent changes to employer-assisted visas (please see our article relating to post-study work rights for students and employers). 
  2. The Minister is looking to create localised skill shortage lists to make visa processing easier and faster for migrants, employers and Immigration New Zealand (“INZ”). This will help employers retain valuable migrant employees in industries hit by a shortage of skilled New Zealand residents and citizens. 
  3. The Minister also discussed the potential to expand lower level study opportunities offered by educational institutions so that migrants are able to gain qualifications that relate to the areas where there are gaps in the labour market. Valuable migrants obtaining qualifications in New Zealand would then be able to apply for lower-skilled essential skills work visas. Employers would still need to check whether any New Zealanders are available to do the work. 
  4. Immigration changes are in motion for the Construction Industry and will come into effect shortly. The Minister confirmed that there will soon be a simplified process for employers in the industry (who meet the relevant standard) to hire overseas workers into critical roles without the need for INZ to conduct a market test each time. 
  5. The Minister would like to re-open the Parent Category but does not see this happening in the near future. He explained that too many sponsors did not fulfill their sponsorship obligations, causing their vulnerable parents to become reliant on the state for financial support and healthcare. A review regarding how to better ensure that sponsors fulfil their obligations will be carried out. 
  6. In addition, the Minister stated that the ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) requirements will not be reviewed in the near future. Our government does not have direct control over changes to ANZSCO as the relevant statistical information is produced and monitored by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

We will keep you updated as immigration changes occur. For all things related to immigration law, please see our website and keep following Mactodd Lawyers on Facebook.

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