Lifting income threshold will stem immigration flow

Issue 368 May 1, 2017 – 

You would never fail to notice the excitement in the eyes of those (especially statisticians, immigration officials and the Party in power) when they exclaim (with pride or prejudice), “We are increasingly becoming multicultural and New Zealand is the most tolerant society in the world and welcomes foreigners with open arms.”

Rhetoric and propaganda apart, one question that have been asked in recent months is, “Are we prepared for the demographic, cultural and most important of all, work place changes that will come about because of a sharp rise in immigration? Should there not be a check on the number of people coming into our country?”

As a part of a solution to the above, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse announced last week a package of changes designed to better manage immigration and improve the long-term labour market contribution of temporary and permanent migration.

Attracting right people

“It is 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.

That is why we are making several changes to our permanent and temporary immigration settings aimed at managing the number and improving the quality of migrants coming to New Zealand,” he said.

Changes to permanent immigration settings include introducing two remuneration thresholds for applicants applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), which will complement the current qualifications and occupation framework.

One remuneration threshold will be set at the New Zealand median income of $48,859 a year for jobs that are currently considered skilled.

The other threshold will be set at 1.5 times the New Zealand median income of $73,299 a year for jobs that are not currently considered skilled but are well paid.

Significant rebound

In the near future, a significant rebound in the number of New Zealanders leaving for Australia looks unlikely. The mood in Australia remains deeply downbeat. And though that will change eventually, a renewed exodus of New Zealanders on the scale we saw in 2011, when the mining boom was in full swing and quake-shocked Cantabrians were leaving New Zealand, looks very remote.

A slowdown in the net inflow of overseas migrants looks more likely, which would prove to be important on the face of inadequate infrastructure and other services.


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