Productivity Commission Inquiry into immigration settings

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Wellington, May 4, 2021

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi

Safe Harbour for directors, debt postponement for businessesThe Productivity Commission will hold an Inquiry into immigration settings to ensure New Zealand’s long term prosperity and wellbeing, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi have said.

This Inquiry, the first under the new Productivity Commission Chairman Dr Ganesh Nana, will focus on immigration policy as a means of improving productivity in a way that is directed to supporting the overall well-being of New Zealanders.

Opportunity from Covid-19

Mr Robertson said that the disruption caused by Covid-19 has provided New Zealand a rare and unique opportunity to focus an Inquiry on an area that makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s labour market, culture and society.

“Many migrants settle smoothly and prosper here, benefiting themselves, their families and New Zealand. They bring a highly valuable diversity of skills, talents, knowledge, experience, international connections, and financial social and cultural capital. However, it is important that we understand better the economic and other impacts of New Zealand’s immigration system. For example, some firms, industries and regions rely heavily on migration to meet their skill and labour needs and there is concern that this has led to downward pressure on wages. Further, despite the large increase in net migration in the last decade, skill shortages remain in some industries,” he said.

Optimising immigration

Mr Robertson said that the Inquiry will enable New Zealand to strategically optimise its immigration settings by taking a system-wide view, including the impact of immigration on the labour market, housing and associated infrastructure, and the natural environment.

He said that the Inquiry will complement existing work being led by Immigration Minister, including the implementation of reforms to temporary work visas and a review of the Skilled Migrant Category visa.

Mr Faafoi said that the Inquiry is a chance to take a longer term look at the immigration system.

“We will also be making changes to our immigration settings this year, as we prepare for the opening of our borders and continue to tilt the balance away from low-skilled work, by attracting high-skilled migrants and meeting genuine skills shortages. I expect to announce the direction of more immediate changes in the coming weeks,” he said.

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