Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says more than 250,000 visa applications have been made online since the service became available in August 2014.
“Immigration ONLINE is helping to transform the immigration system by delivering more efficient visa services and a better customer experience,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“A rapid uptake in the last year has seen the number of ONLINE applications reach 261,000 – an increase of more than 80,000 in the last year.”
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today confirmed changes to temporary work visa conditions following an extensive consultation process.
“The Government is committed to striking the right balance between ensuring New Zealanders are at the front of the queue for jobs and making sure our regions have access to temporary migrant labour necessary for sustained economic growth,” Mr Woodhouse says.
The Government has today announced $10 million in new funding to expand Pacific labour mobility, as the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme celebrates ten years of success.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse say the RSE scheme is an innovative immigration policy that fulfils a labour need in New Zealand while giving Pacific workers the chance to earn an income and gain skills.
Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse were in Ottawa, Canada this week to attend the annual Five Country Ministerial.
The Five Country Ministerial brings together Interior Ministers, Immigration Ministers and Attorneys General from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to discuss a range of common national security issues and identify areas for collaboration. This year topics included counter-terrorism, cyber-security and border security.
Border sector Ministers have welcomed a new report by the Office of the Auditor-General published today on the use of information at New Zealand’s ports, and say their agencies will continue to work closely to protect our borders.
“This is a positive report which recognises good collaboration between the three border agencies. It finds there are strong relationships and effective processing of passengers,” says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.
World Refugee Day is an opportunity to celebrate the strength, courage and tenacity of refugees around the world and acknowledge the contribution they make here in New Zealand, says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.
“It’s important we take the time to recognise the difficult journey refugees have been on and the obstacles they have, and continue to, overcome,” says Mr Woodhouse.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is taking steps to improve Immigration New Zealand’s decision making authority for cases involving residence class visa holders convicted of a criminal offence.
“Currently, Immigration NZ has the ability to make decisions on behalf of the Minister on deportation cases for some residence class visa holders convicted of a criminal offence,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced a package of changes designed to better manage immigration and improve the long-term labour market contribution of temporary and permanent migration.
“The Government is committed to ensuring inward migration best supports the economy and the labour market,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“It’s important that our immigration settings are attracting the right people, with the right skills, to help fill genuine skill shortages and contribute to our growing economy.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced a one-off pathway to residence for around 4,000 long-term temporary migrant workers and their families living in the South Island.
“There has been a significant growth in the number of lower-skilled temporary migrants in the South Island who help fill genuine labour shortages and have become well-settled here,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“However, due to current temporary migration settings, many of these lower-skilled temporary migrants have no pathway to residence.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse and Customs Minister Nicky Wagner have today announced three new initiatives to make it easier for Chinese visitors to come to New Zealand.
“China is New Zealand’s second largest market and has made a valued contribution to the strong growth in New Zealand international visitor arrivals and expenditure over the last few years,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“In 2016, Chinese visitors to New Zealand spent $1.67 billion and by 2022 this number is projected to increase to $5.3 billion.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has today announced new measures to stop employers who breach immigration and employment law from recruiting migrant workers.
“Migrant workers make a valuable contribution to our workforce and have the same rights as any other worker,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“It is simply unacceptable that those employers who exploit migrant workers are still able to recruit from the international labour market and disadvantage those employers who do the right thing.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse welcomes a report showing the vast majority of employers who take on seasonal workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme are also employing more New Zealanders.
The eighth annual survey of RSE employers found that 79 per cent of the 92 respondents had employed more permanent New Zealand workers in addition to their RSE workers.
“The fact that more RSE employers are now taking on more Kiwis as well is great news and shows once again the huge benefits of the RSE scheme,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse will today travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as part of an Immigration NZ (INZ) selection mission to interview refugee cases who have been submitted for resettlement in New Zealand by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
“In addition to the UNHCR’s own screening process, all refugee cases submitted for consideration undergo robust assessments as part of INZ’s decision-making process,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says changes to the migrant investor policy will encourage investments that provide greater economic benefits for New Zealand.
“There’s no doubt the Migrant Investor categories are performing well with $2.9 billion invested since they were launched in July 2009 and a further $2.1 billion in funds committed,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“However, around two thirds of investment is currently placed in bonds and the government believes there is an opportunity to rebalance this towards growth-oriented investments.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced an increase in the number of seasonal workers who can come to New Zealand to work in the horticulture and viticulture industry under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.
The current cap will be increased by 1,000 from 9,500 to 10,500 RSE workers for the 2016-17 season.
Mr Woodhouse says the horticulture and viticulture industry is New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry, producing almost $5 billion in exports.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced changes to the Government’s New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) for the next two years.
“Migrants make a valuable contribution to New Zealand both culturally and economically, and the Government periodically reviews all our immigration settings to make sure they are working as intended,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will partner with the Edmund Hillary Fellowship to bring innovation-based ventures to New Zealand, announced Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.
“In April, the Government agreed to pilot a new Global Impact Visa (GIVs) in partnership with the private sector, to enable high-impact entrepreneurs, investors and start-up teams to launch global ventures from New Zealand,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today signed a Working Holiday Scheme with Luxembourg during a meeting with the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn in Wellington.
“This is Luxembourg’s first Working Holiday Scheme and will allow up to 50 young people from New Zealand and Luxembourg to live and work in each other’s countries,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today welcomed two reports which show the learnings of Immigration New Zealand’s successful Vision 2015 programme in being recognised as a trusted partner, delivering outstanding immigration services and bringing in the best people New Zealand needs in order to prosper.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is welcoming the opening of the rebuilt Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre in Auckland.
The Government announced the rebuild of the Centre in the 2013 and 2014 Budgets and has invested $24.7 million in the project.
“The original facilities at Mangere were built during the Second World War and were well past their economic life,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“The new facilities are a vast improvement and will give refugees the best possible start to their new life in New Zealand.”
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is welcoming the launch of Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) new identity management system.
The system, known as IDme, enables face photos and fingerprint information from applicants to be captured online and automatically matched against personal data already held by INZ.
“IDme is a major step change in our ability to protect against identity fraud by non-New Zealanders. It gives greater assurance that the visa system detects and prevents identity fraud,” Mr Woodhouse says.