Removal of backdoor entry ‘loopholes’ a plus in Labour’s immigration policy

Ensuring that businesses can get genuinely skilled migrants when they need them “makes sense”, says Auckland Chamber of Commerce head, Michael Barnett.

He was commenting on Labour’s immigration policy released today. “By regionalising and rationalising skills shortage lists it should ensure the pursuit of a better quality of skills and talent coming into the country.”

Closing off backdoor immigration loopholes such as allowing students with low-level qualifications to gain long-term work visas, residency and bring family members, is another positive feature of the policy.

Labour’s intention to establish a regionalised system to work with businesses to achieve a better understanding of regional needs and only issue visas when a genuine effort has been made to find Kiwi workers, will get local business support, suggested Mr Barnett.

Capturing the pool of unqualified school leavers to train and get them into work before they get into bad habits is another long-needed initiative.

“But setting the policy is one thing and implementing it something else. For nearly 10 years, Chamber surveys have shown that around 50% of businesses have been having difficulties attracting staff with the right attitude and skill set they need “Clearly, a focused plan of attack will be needed. The key to success will be how quick decision-making can be devolved to those closest to each region’s skill shortage problems and what urgency, energy and cooperation local community and business leaders can bring to delivering solutions,” said Mr Barnett.