ACT Leader David Seymour and Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall have today released ACT’s policy for real change in immigration.

“Immigration is a make or break policy area for New Zealand. If the country does not have processes at least as good as those in major competitor countries like Australia and Canada, businesses will struggle to grow, social services will fail to deliver, and a spiral will take hold where it is even more difficult to attract and retain talent than in competitor countries,” says Mr Seymour.

“It is possible to make immigration policy a strength for New Zealand. ACT’s vision is to have the best immigration policy in the world, bringing talented people to our shores with minimal rigmarole enabling New Zealand to solve all of its other problems.

“That’s why today we’re announcing a raft of policies to get New Zealand back on track and make us competitive with the rest of the world.”

“Many of the immigration policies brought in by Labour have had significant consequences for migrants, employers, and wider society, yet immigration policy is subject to less formal rigour and scrutiny than other policy areas,” says Dr McDowall.

“This has led to policy blunders such as the ridiculous labour market testing processes where bureaucrats try to micromanage the jobs migrants can undertake; or the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) that is so restrictive, it requires multiple sector carve-outs to prevent critical industries from failing. Immigration New Zealand has become so inflexible that even Government departments struggle to get their way. The Ministry of Health couldn’t get nurses on the green list, what chance does a small business that’s short of staff have.

“ACT has a package of solutions that will lead to a better quality of life for migrant, business owners and all New Zealanders.”

ACT is today announcing:

• All major immigration policy decisions will be subject to a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), to make sure the benefits of a policy outweigh the costs.

• We will get rid of the complicated and burdensome system for temporary work visas and replace it with demand-based pricing, to let employers decide if their need is worth the price instead of clunky bureaucracy

• Ensure the Skilled Migrant Category offers an efficient and predictable pathway for migrants of all skill levels and occupations, to remove confusing and unfairness

• End the political deadlock and introduce a sustainable solution for parent visas, so that talented people can make a home in New Zealand without leaving their parents behind so long as there is no extra cost to the taxpayer

• Tackle the sources of Immigration New Zealand’s slow processing times to remove uncertainty and frustration for people who want to bring their skills to New Zealand

“New Zealand’s labour market is far too small to build world-beating companies without easy access to offshore skills, so immigration must make it easy for business to access skilled people,” says Mr Seymour.

“The current set of rules and regulations are overly complex, perhaps due to being made without proper policy oversight, so immigration rules must be streamlined to enable employers to get the people and skills they need.”

“We must do better for New Zealand and that starts with good law making,” says Dr McDowall.

“Employers have been through enough under the Labour government, with lockdowns, more bureaucracy, and increased costs. It’s time we made it easier to do business in New Zealand, increased productivity and give the people who put it all on the line a break.”

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