Posted By

Tags

Prudent thinking can clear the immigration mess

Issuing a visa should be as easy as a mortgage loan

David Seymour, Leader, ACT Party (INL Photo)

David Seymour
Wellington, December 8, 2022

Labour has engaged in a very expensive ideological experiment when it comes to immigration policy. The costs of Labour’s ‘immigration reset’ have been paid by businesses that cannot get staff, consumers who face higher prices, and most of all migrants who’ve been let down by New Zealand’s Government changing its attitude.

They believe that if the government effectively strangles immigration, everyone will be richer.

With a shortage of workers, they seemed to think, employers would have to pay more.

They gave us long wait times and strict criteria, even closing whole visa categories.

Now they are back-peddling, but the damage to the economy and people’s trust in New Zealand is done. That is why we need clarity now.

It is time for the government and parties like ACT which would like to be in government next year, to lay out clear positions in immigration. People who are thinking of coming to New Zealand deserve clarity. People who are in the middle of the immigration process deserve clarity. People already here who would like to employ or otherwise do business with immigrants, deserve clarity about immigration policy, too.

Three basic questions

ACT believes that there are three basic questions to be answered about immigration. What is our overall attitude to immigration? What rules are necessary to make it work? How can the rules be administered rapidly and fairly?

The question of attitude should be simple. New Zealanders want to live in a first-world country. That requires companies that are as productive, or even more productive, than overseas competitors. If companies in other countries can get skilled workers, then companies here need them, too.

Companies in India, China, North America, and Europe all have huge labour markets. They have half a billion to over a billion people. New Zealand has a Labour market of five million. Where are the most productive companies going to locate? Where will the highest-paying jobs be? Not in the market with only five million people.

New Zealand will not have competitive industries if immigration policy does not allow local businesses to hire the right people at the right time. Most people want competitive industries and a good lifestyle. Therefore, the Government’s attitude must be pro-immigration.

The right attitude is just a start. There must be some rules.

In this case, the government’s rules are far too complicated. There is a labour crisis in New Zealand right now. Nearly every business is operating below capacity because there are not enough people. And yet, Immigration New Zealand insists on every single business that wants to get a foreign worker doing a work test. That should be dumped.

Allow families too 

People come to New Zealand hoping their families can join them. Not many workers want to leave their whole life behind to go and do a job.

Government policy should allow parents to come too. The only test should be whether they are able to support themselves without depending on the taxpayer.

The current income test for children does not do that. The test is not even about the parents who are the actual migrant. ACT says if you can cover your health insurance and will not rely on the taxpayer to live, you should be able to come and join your children in New Zealand.

Those are just two examples of illogical rules. A lot of streamlining could be done, and ACT will release more detailed policy as the election nears.

Finally, how to execute it? ACT believes issuing a visa is as simple as issuing a mortgage.

Banks take an applicant, check if they meet the criteria, sign a document, and give over a million dollars. They do it all the time and they do it in days, not months. No bank ever says ‘sorry, we are too busy, put in an application and we will come back to you in 16 months.’

That is exactly what immigration in New Zealand does, though. They must be the least efficient processors around. ACT would get in a couple of business process improvement experts from the banking sector and set the goal of making Immigration New Zealand’s processes as efficient as ASB within six months.

There is no reason why it is not possible. There is no reason why we do not deserve it.

If we get this right, New Zealand can again be a first-choice country for the best immigrants. Right now, New Zealand is just a broken promise, and ACT is determined to fix the country’s reputation for the migrants of the world.

David Seymour is Leader of the ACT Party and elected Member of Parliament from Epsom.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this story

Related Stories

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement