Advocating for immigration changes

At a time of record high employment, and a shortage of employees in most sectors and most regions of New Zealand, immigration is needed at all levels to meet skill shortages that are constraining economic growth.

“Immigration is a key component for New Zealand to be globally competitive,” says Business South CE, Mike Collins. “With our borders now open, we need to signal that New Zealand is open for business and welcomes international skills and talent. A simple, open and permissive immigration system will help fuel our economic growth.”

The border opened on 31 July, when most restrictions for visas and entry were removed.

The biggest challenge now is attracting migrants to New Zealand, with low numbers of applications across all visa categories, and visa reissuances not flowing through to entry to New Zealand.

“The Accredited Employer Work Visa has accredited over 9,000 employers, however there are significant issues in the job check phase. Increases to immigration fees, and future delays in policy decisions could affect New Zealand’s global reputation and competitiveness.”

Business South supports immigration settings that are predictable and plan for the long-term, and also supports the Productivity Commission’s recommendations to have better quality labour market data to be able to inform policies across education, immigration and welfare settings. The Productivity Commission’s report on immigration confirmed that immigration does not push down wages and conditions for New Zealand workers. 

Business South and others in the BusinessNZ network are actively talking to politicians and officials about the needs of business to acquire skills via immigration as well as by training staff from the domestic pool of talent. In addition, BusinessNZ is sitting on advisory groups on operations and policy, where it is pushing for a continual improvement approach.