June 1, 2021

The New Zealand government has announced the formation of an inquiry commission to examine the country’s working-age immigration policy, including analysing the skilled migrant visa category and making recommendations on how to enhance investment immigration.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant 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.”

The commission’s mandate includes looking into the effects of rising net migration on housing markets, social cohesion, and the global ecosystems, as well as exchange rates and GDP growth. It will also analyse how the country can address potential labour and skill shortages, as well as whether migrants’ skills are aligned with job opportunities in New Zealand.

The inquiry body will emphasise on “how to attract and gain from investor migrants and entrepreneurial migrants whose expertise, experience, resources, and international ties will help New Zealand’s economic and social development, including through the creation of new businesses, and improving New Zealand’s reach into higher-value industries.”

Other questions the commission will address include whether the perceptions that domestic workers’ jobs are being taken over by migrant workers, especially in the low-skilled category, are accurate or not. Student visas as a pathway to permanent residence would also be scrutinised and closely watched.

Before the deadline of April 30, 2022, the Productivity Commission must present its findings.

In a statement, the Productivity Commission’s Ganesh Nana said, “The Commission looks forward to working alongside Maori and Pacific communities, migrant and ethnic communities, relevant government agencies, skills organisations, partners (the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi and Business New Zealand), and many others.”

This article is contributed by Ms. Dishita Sheth, Intern at Ajmera Law Group