Posts Tagged ‘migration’

CTV News interview

May 29, 2014

Interview with CanterburyTV news today about immigration, the rebuild and what the effects of cutting work visas might be. 

We’re right in the heart of Christchurch providing advice to rebuild employers and workers every day. Immigration has become a key issue, but mostly because people are being scared by misused statistics and partial information often confusing permanent and temporary migration.

Work visas holders are here only because we need them and cannot find NZ workers to do jobs that need skills and years of experience – apprenticeships are vital for local youth, but unemployment for men here is down to 2% and to rebuild we need mostly experienced experts overseeing a smaller number of trainees.

Training in many areas has really taken off because of the overseas experts helping our local tradespeople in giving those with an aptitude tuition and oversight. You can’t train an electrician, plumber or stonemason overnight, but because of the work visa holders many young New Zealanders are beginning careers now that will help this country into the future long after those visas have expired.

Mike Bell

Migrant advocate, Licensed Immigration Adviser


Cutting immigration – where to start?

May 26, 2014

Politicians are talking about cutting immigration using figures which relate to people coming for 1 year or more – the Permanent and Long Term arrivals produced by statistics NZ.

From these stats it is clear numbers have changed since last year due to:

  • 16,151 less NZ citizens leaving the country;
  • 3,267 more NZ citizens arriving in NZ; and
  • 9,954 non NZ citizens arriving.

So roughly 66% of the change was the movement of NZ citizens, 18% was an increase in the number of Australians coming to NZ and 15% was ‘everyone else’.

As a point of interest the only aspect of immigration which is not carefully controlled or managed by the NZ government relates to Australians – citizens and permanent residents can simply get on a plane and are automatically handed residence visas at the border.

This year there was an increase of 5,391 Australian citizens coming to NZ, a rise of 34%. I wonder how many of the 15% ‘other’ were permanent residents of Australia, the stats do not show this.

By comparison looking at the other countries there were:

  • 1,186 more Indian citizens;
  • 736 more Chinese citizens;
  • 662 more German citizens;
  • 402 more US citizens;
  • 262 more South African citizens; and
  • 16 more UK citizens.

Blind statistics
Using these statistics however does not give detail on why people came to NZ or how long they planned to stay – we only know they intended to stay for a year or more.

My last post looked at residents only – those you could argue who are most likely to buy a house – asking which of these the politicians would cut.

Perhaps it would be better to look at all of the visas issued last year which would be likely to be for a year or more to compare more closely with the figures being used by politicians.

Looking through the immigration department statistics on visas issued in 2012/13:

  • 14.6% were residence visas – arguably the most likely to buy a house as they stay permanently. Of those 11,291 were the partners and children of New Zealand citizens and residents.
  • 21.3% were foreign fee paying students who paid around $1 billion to study here last year, spending around $848 million on accommodation etc.
  • 19% were young people on a 1 year working holiday visa, these were required to bring collectively at least $210 million into the country to spend.
  • 17% were skilled workers (temporary and permanent) where employers had proved they could not find NZ workers to do the job offered (paying taxes, filling skill gaps, creating jobs and training NZ citizens).
  • Another 10% were partners (of visa holders or NZ citizens) on temporary visas.

That’s a total of 82.4%.

The remaining visas went to refugees (1%), children studying at school (3.3%), parents of visa holders (1.7%) etc.

scaremongeringIf numbers are going to be cut where will the politicians start I wonder?

Where do you think the cuts should be?

Mike Bell

Migrant advocate, Licensed Immigration Adviser



A looming Skill Shortage epidemic for New Zealand

June 22, 2011

Why New Zealand is losing the international battle for skills

According to Wikipedia “Immigration” is the act of passing or coming into a country for the purpose of Permanent Residence.

It’s a pretty popular idea! According to a Gallup poll run in 2009 roughly 700 million adults would migrate to another country if they had the chance.

Favourite dream destinations were Europe (30%); the USA (24%); Canada (6.5%); UK and France (6.5%); Spain (5%). Interestingly just as any people (25 million or 3.6%) wanted to move to Germany as Australia. New Zealand is not mentioned.

I guess it depends on who you ask, but most of the 500+ people I met at the 2008 Opportunities Expos in the UK were interested in what they call the ‘Big Three’: Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Big Three
Migration is split into two main groups: skilled (workers and entrepreneurs) and family reunification. What we have seen in the past couple of years has been some pretty big changes with the Big Three:

  • Australia: Increasing their ‘Skill Stream’ by 11 percent, from 113,850 last year to 125,850.
  • Canada: Increasing their ‘Skilled Migrant’ stream by 22 person, from 153,491 last year to 186,881.
  • New Zealand: Decreasing the ‘Skilled Migrant Category’ by 13 percent, from 31137 last year to a capped 27,000 this year.

Skilled Migration ComparisonAustralia, Canada and New Zealand

Bucking the Trend

So New Zealand is busy heading in the opposite direction to Australia and Canada, but why?

Um, actually I have no idea, I was hoping someone could tell me.

Since 2001 the New Zealand Immigration Programme has had a target quota for Residence Approvals of between 45,000 and 50,000 and that hasn’t changed. Ministers have constantly spoken about the benefits and need of migration, but keep on cutting numbers.

Residency applications are split into four groups: Skilled/Business (61%); Humanitarian (9%); Parent/Sibling(12%); and Family Sponsored categories (18%) (percentages are averages since 2001). The Skilled Migrant Category, part of the Skilled/Business group, is the single largest sector making up over 55 percent of all Residency Approvals.

Residency Approvals

(Click for enlargement))

The immigration department’s year runs from July to June so we don’t have a full year to look at, however figures are available to May 2011.

Comparing the 11 months from July 2010 to May 2011 against the same period in the previous year we see some interesting differences.

#1 difference is an overall drop of 4,721 approvals.

#2 difference is that the group most affected is the Skilled/Business stream.

An uneven drop

As you can see from the previous graph, the drop in numbers has not been even, in fact numbers for the Humanitarian and Parent/Sibling groups have increased slightly. Both the Skilled/Business stream and Uncapped Family streams however have fallen.

Looking a little deeper at the Skilled/Business stream (which includes the

Skilled Migrant Category, Work to Residence, Entrepreneurs and Investors) the real drop has come from the Skilled Migrant Category. Through this period there have been 5,150 less applications approved in this stream, an actual drop so far this year of over 21 percent.

So while Australia and Canda are increasing their Skilled Migrant streams, New Zealand has cut the capped amount by 13 percent and actual numbers by over 21 percent over the past 11 months. This is not a blip or mistake, this is a policy being implemented. From January 2010 applications being accepted under the Skilled Migrant Category were cut by 30 percent and this is the result.

It takes time for changes like that to filter through the system with the effect first showing in July 2010. This means that numbers will continue to fall over the coming months no matter what changes might be belatedly made to increase the count.

Temporary Approvals

(Click for enlargement))

Temporary Work Visas

So is the New Zealand government leaning towards temporary visas rather than permanent? In a recession this can be a useful strategy to get industry moving.

Comparing the same eleven month period of June 2010 to May 2011 to the same period in the previous year we can see that this is not the case. Overall approvals for temporary work permits have dropped by 15,822 (10.3%) to 137,890.

Some areas such as the working holiday schemes are fixed, meaning that this shortfall also comes from the 'Skilled' areas:

  • Graduate jobsearch: down 2,765 to 8,727, a drop of 25%
  • Long Term Skills Shortage: down 154 to 386, a drop of 28.5%
  • Essential Skills: down 7,201 to 20,701, a drop of 25.9%
  • Skilled Migrant: down 308 to 892, a drop of 25.7%

So New Zealand has also cut temporary skilled migration by over a quarter.

New Zealand is losing the international battle for skills

While Australia and Canada are attracting the most desireable globally mobile skilled workers New Zealand has implemented a policy to cut these numbers.

As a result skill shortages in New Zealand are reaching a critical boiling point.

While training programmes are planned to provide semi-skilled workers and graduates New Zealand business has been starved of skilled, qualified and experienced staff. Also contributing to this problem has been a drop in wages and conditions over the past two years causing an increase in numbers of the mostly highly skilled staff heading to Australia. Record numbers are now leaving New Zealand for Australia.

A looming disaster

I believe a disaster in New Zealand employment is coming, a disaster which move2nz predicted and warned the Immigration Minister Dr. Jonathan Coleman of in March 2009, soon after he took office. Sadly this feedback has been completely ignored and as a result New Zealand business will soon be in serious difficulties.

While immigration could be used to help the position bureaucracy has massively increased leading to long delays for processing. Any changes to migration numbers to correct this situation will take months to actually filter through because of this and it is my strong belief that New Zealand jobs and businesses will suffer as a result.

So where does this leave you, the migrant?
Some time soon either the current Immigration Minister, or if the government changes in November the next Minister, will need to make swift changes to correct this catastrophic imbalance. Initially this will likely only be aimed at temporary workers, for example with the rebuild of Christchurch, but that will lead to opportunities for Residency.

Migrants with skills and experience who are prepared and ready may very soon have excellent opportunities to find work in New Zealand, helping to grow our economy, create jobs and finally push New Zealand's economy out of the doldrums. So have your application ready, the next six months may be very interesting!

Statistics taken from the Immigration New Zealand website.

Please note that I am not a licensed immigration adviser and this article is not intended in any way as individually tailored immigration advice.