“New Zealand businesses are suffering from workforce shortages caused by an inflexible and illogical immigration system, we need real change to ensure employers can access the workers they need and hard working immigrants can contribute to New Zealand society,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“The New Zealand economy is facing a labour crisis that’s reducing production and pushing up costs. ACT is calling on the Government to remove restrictions that may have made sense when we were short of jobs, but make no sense in a labour crisis,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“To ease the cost of living crisis, the Government should dump the labour market test, industry specific wage requirements, and transfer restrictions. Foreign workers should be able to work for accredited employers so long as they are employed consistent with New Zealand law.

“Employers across New Zealand are facing the same problem, they need workers but it is near impossible to bring them in from overseas.

“The Government’s new residency scheme ‘Green List’ leaves far too many professions out in the cold and Kiwi business owners shaking their heads.

“The few professions that are eligible for residency are held back by leisurely visa processing times.

“Other countries can see there’s a war for talent and they’re taking steps to raid New Zealand’s. For example, the UK recently extended the working holiday visa for Kiwis to 35 years of age. In stark contrast Immigration NZ is acting like a security guard at the border.

“In short, the whole system is a mess. It inflicts costs on struggling businesses which are then passed on to consumers as well. Our productivity levels are tanking as orchards can’t get fruit pickers. Building sites can’t get builders. Hospitals can’t get nurses. Farms can’t get milkers. There are shortages of essential workers that are creating a wage-price spiral.

“ACT is proposing bold change to shake up the immigration sector and provide immediate relief to struggling Kiwi businesses.

As an immediate fix, ACT would:

  • Provide all occupations on the ‘Green List’ a fast-track to residency by removing the ‘work to residence’ divide
  • Simplify the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by abolishing labour market tests, wage rules, and make it easier for migrants to move between accredited employers.

“This will put the power in the hands of employers and allow them to get the workers they need now.

“It’s bold change, but it’s absolutely necessary to address the labour crisis. We need this change to make our society productive again and to let businesses thrive.”

The cost of living document can be found here.

A cost of living crisis can be found here

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