New Zealand National Party released a plan to fix the country’s ‘broken immigration system.’
According to National, the new plan will clear Immigration New Zealand’s current residency backlog and provide onshore skilled migrants with a pathway to permanent residency in New Zealand.
National Party leader Judith Collins criticised the government for breaking New Zealand’s immigration system, saying that Immigration New Zealand currently has the longest queue for residence in its history.
In addition, residency applicants are having to deal with record wait times for their applications to be processed, leaving them with no certainty of when they might become New Zealand residents, she said.
Moreover, Ms Collins said that New Zealand could not afford to lose more doctors, engineers, teachers, and IT workers because of the residency backlog and uncertainty.
She said that National’s new plan would unfreeze the residency pool and fast-track the pending residency applications to clear the backlog of more than 30,000 applications.
Afterwards, migrant workers who helped the country cope with skills shortages during the pandemic would be provided with a pathway to permanent residency in New Zealand, Ms Collins said.
She also said that National’s new plan would fix the ‘broken immigration system’ issue in the form of a Covid Contribution Visa, which would give around 35,000 essential skilled migrants and their families the surety, ability, and time to apply for permanent residency in New Zealand.
Skilled migrants such as hospitality staff, aged care workers and dairy farmworkers, who helped New Zealand through the most challenging part of the pandemic, would be rewarded with a pathway to permanent residency through the Covid Contribution Visa, she said.
ACT New Zealand spokesperson Dr James McDowall also spoke on New Zealand’s immigration issue, saying that the ACT Party would speed up residency applications processing times for highly skilled migrants – such as doctors – by unfreezing the Expression of Interest (EOI) backlog, which would help skilled migrants on the pathway to residency.
Green Party MP Ricardo Menendez March also spoke in favour of skilled migrants gaining residency in New Zealand, but said that the proposed plans were not good enough.
He said that while more parties working towards clearing residency backlogs is good for New Zealand’s immigration system, the barriers preventing low-income migrants from moving to and settling in New Zealand must also be removed.
The comments come after Immigration New Zealand announced a ‘once-in-a-generation’ immigration reset, which would restrict skilled migration to New Zealand for low-skilled workers in favour of those with a higher skill level.