To attract more migrants amid global labour shortages, the New Zealand government announced Wednesday that it is reopening two vital visa categories.
Speaking before members of Auckland's migrant and business community, Immigration Minister Michael Wood said the government is resuming the skilled migrant and parent visa categories.
These developments are part of the government's plan to support businesses as they find it challenging to hire and recruit migrants in a constrained labour market.
Wood said that the renewal of the two visa categories would alleviate labour shortages and ensure a competitive edge to lure talent to New Zealand.
The Skilled Migrant Category will focus on helping attract more foreign workers. The first selection will begin at 160 points, with an increased threshold of 180 points. Application for this visa category ceased when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Zealand in early 2020.
According to Wood, more than 12,000 migrants have applied for 511 jobs across New Zealand since the official employer work visa opened. The government hopes that the Skilled Migrant Category will provide a pathway for retaining most applicants permanently, strengthening the nation's resilience to global shocks.
New Zealand will propose a new system that will future-proof the Skilled Migrant Category and add to the new green list and highly paid residence routes.
Meanwhile, under the renewed Parent Category Visa, the government has raised the number of parent resident visas granted to 2500 annually, while the government will reduce the income thresholds.
Wood said the government recognises the importance for migrants who settle in the country to have their parents join them.
The Parent Category Visa aims to establish New Zealand as an attractive place for migrants looking to resettle long-term with their families. Wood said the Parent Visa Category is about family reunifications.
"We recognise the important role the immigration system plays in our nation's economic future," Wood added during the press conference.