Skilled migrants on the increase

  • Lianne Dalziel

Demand from skilled migrants seeking New Zealand residence is so high, the government has extended residence approvals in the general skills category by 3500, taking the stream’s total from 27,000 to 33,200, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel announced today.

“Encouraging highly skilled migrants to come to New Zealand has been a key focus of this government through several initiatives that have either already been introduced or are being developed,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“We have needed to extend the residence approvals solely because of the pressures from applications within the general skills category. There will be no increase to the thresholds in the other two streams.

“Many of the government’s initiatives in immigration have stemmed from issues raised by business at the government-business forums. Programmes such as the New Zealand Immigration Programme, – ensuring focus on the general skills category which is now over 60% of the total programme – the talent visa, skill shortages initiative, and the proposed regional immigration initiative, have all reinforced this government’s commitment to a balanced immigration policy.

“I am sure that this has restored New Zealand’s reputation internationally which is consistent with the latest migration statistics showing we have had our first December year net inflow since 1997. The latest figures show that in the year ending December 2001, the net inflow was recorded with 9,700 permanent and long-term arrivals. That compares with a net outflow of 11,300 departures the previous December year.

“The Labour-Alliance government remains committed to ensuring that the NZ Immigration Programme supports New Zealand’s economic and social development, and the signs are strong that we are on the right track,” Lianne Dalziel said.