Immigration policy changes to be announced soon (presumably before the Productivity Commission has reported back)

The Productivity Commission will hold an inquiry into immigration settings to ensure New Zealand’s long-term prosperity and wellbeing.

This was announced today in a statement which signalled changes would be made to immigration rules this year, as the government prepares for the opening of our borders and aims to tilt the balance further 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,” Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said.

This statement – which he made in tandem with Finance Minister Grant Robertson – was the only item containing hard news to be posted on the Beehive since we last reported.  The other items were speeches, two of them delivered (by the PM and by Trade Minister Damien O’Connor) to the China Business Summit.

The inquiry announced by Grant Robertson and Kris Faafoi will be the first under the new Productivity Commission chair, Dr Ganesh Nana.

It 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.

Robertson said it was important to better understand the impacts of New Zealand’s immigration system on our labour market, culture and society.

Some firms, industries and regions rely heavily on migration to meet their skill and labour needs, he said. This has raised a concern that immigrants are depressing wages and, despite the large increase in net migration in the last decade, skill shortages remain in some industries.

Robertson said:

“This 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.”

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

The PM delivered one Beehive speech to the  China Business Summit.

Trade and Export Minister Damien O’Connor delivered another, focusing on trade performance and potential.

His associate, Rino Tirikatane, was in the speech-delivering business, too. He addressed a conference in Kerikeri which focused on how Māori can influence New Zealand’s current and future free trade negotiations with nations from around the world.

This  was the fourth in a series of gatherings around the country aimed at engaging Māori leaders from various organisations that stand to benefit from having input into how New Zealand negotiates its free trade partnerships.

Tirikatane mentioned a programme of work designed to support Māori Trade Opportunities established in 2019, when Nanaia Mahuta was Associate Minister for Trade and Export Growth.

The conference had just heard from her in her new role as Foreign Minister, he said.

Point of Order could find no record of her speech on the Beehive website.

Latest from the Beehive

3 MAY 2021  

Speech to the China Business Summit by the Minister for Trade and Export Growth

Productivity Commission inquiry into immigration settings

Speech to China Business Summit

1 MAY 2021   

Speech to Te Taumata Wahine Toa Hui, Kerikeri

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