Immigration Policy Change Signalled Amid Growing Population

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Government Plans Immigration Changes as New Zealand's Population Grows | Immigration NZ considers adjusting work visa system amid concerns over excessive low-skilled workers. Strain on infrastructure and services, especially in Auckland, underscores the need for policy adjustments. The government strives for sustainable economic growth and meets evolving population demands.

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According to recent data, New Zealand experienced its fastest population growth rate since 1946 during the second half of last year. With the total population now exceeding 5.3 million people, the government is considering implementing changes to immigration settings. Finance Minister Nicola Willis highlights the need to address the issue of allowing too many low-skilled workers into the country.

Despite the surge in population growth, concerns about the economy have arisen. The economy contracted in the last quarter, despite the high immigration numbers driving up demand. As a result, Finance Minister Willis has expressed a lack of optimism regarding abundant available funds for the budget.

Of the 126,000 people added to New Zealand's population in the year leading up to December, nearly 60 percent reside in Auckland. This means that approximately 70,000 new residents were added to Auckland's population in just a year.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Paul Spoonley predicts that over the next two decades, Auckland's population will grow by around half a million. Consequently, 40 percent of all New Zealanders will likely be Auckland residents.

The growing population poses various challenges, including increased strain on infrastructure such as roads, trains, houses, schools, and health services. These challenges are exacerbated by the aging population. Medical specialists warn that the healthcare system is ill-equipped to handle the influx of elderly individuals, particularly with the rising prevalence of conditions like dementia.

New Zealand is not alone in grappling with the complexities of immigration management. Australia, for instance, experienced a net migration gain of half a million people last year and is now considering reducing this number by half.

The New Zealand government aims to address the issue of low-skilled workers entering the country by making adjustments to the work visa system. Finance Minister Willis emphasises the need to examine the skill levels of individuals granted work visas, with a particular focus on those with low skills.

author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 17 February 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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