Labour's immigration policy to focus foremost on whether people entering NZ on work visas can be cut, and those roles filled by locals, Andrew Little says

Labour's immigration policy to focus foremost on whether people entering NZ on work visas can be cut, and those roles filled by locals, Andrew Little says

Labour’s immigration policy will focus foremost on whether the number of people entering New Zealand on work visas can be cut, and those positions filled by locals, leader Andrew Little says.

Asked by comments made by Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford to media over the weekend, Little told journalists in Parliament Tuesday that the party was not proposing a cap on immigration. Rather, its policy is that the government needs to “more carefully manage immigration.”

“When you look at the work visas being issued at 42,000 [a year], we can see there are work visas that are being issued for roles that I am confident New Zealanders already here can do,” Little said.

Too many people had migrated to an “overcrowded” Auckland, with infrastructure bursting at the seams he said. He pointed to traffic congestion, school overcrowding and housing shortages in New Zealand’s largest city as indicating the need to refine immigration policy. “We need time to catch up,” he said.

Little said he was confident New Zealanders could manage some of the occupational needs currently filled by immigrants.

“I’m not saying we’re going to can immigration all together,” he said. “We’ve always relied on immigration to meet skills shortages needs that we have. I want to make sure that we are better matching the amount of skills that we’re bringing in with the skills that are needed here at the moment.”

Current policy was not matching immigrants with the specific skills needs of industry, he said. “We will reduce the number of…immigrants coming in, particularly under work visas. [But] we will continue to have people coming in under work visas to meet the skills shortages that we actually have.”

Asked whether Labour might also consider changes to working holiday visas, Little responded that the primary focus would be work visas, where there was a greater scope to make a difference to the numbers.

He noted ‘layman’ jobs were being filled by immigrants: figures showed there were 15,000 unemployed New Zealand labourers when 6,500 had been brought in from overseas. “That doesn’t make sense.”

“The reality is, as a country we’ve always relied on bringing skilled labour in from overseas when we’ve needed it. We’re not a country that produces every form of skill that we need to run our businesses, run our enterprises, industries.”

Labour hasn’t yet gone as far as to look at offering government relocation packages, Little said in response to a question on what would happen if a Christchurch-based labourer was required to fill a role elsewhere. “At the moment it’s about managing immigration.”

However, he noted people had relocated as Christchurch rebuild work tapered off. Labour wanted to ensure locals out of work who could fill roles available elsewhere occupied by people from overseas, were able to do so, he said.

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He noted ‘layman’ jobs were being filled by immigrants: figures showed there were 15,000 unemployed New Zealand labourers when 6,500 had been brought in from overseas. “That doesn’t make sense.”

Hardly surprising. Why pay a Kiwi labourer a decent-ish wage of $25 an hour when you can bring in a Filipino or Indian bloke, work them 12 hours a day 6 days a week and pay them $15 an hour? Kiwis aren't applying for the low skilled job vacancies as they pay stuff all and can require long hours. You may as well get $300 a week on the Jobseekers benefit and do casual under the table cash jobs to supplement your income.

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We only bring in new immigrants who have essential skills. I know this because on my morning walk I saw dozens of them in their seventies engaged in the essential job of walking to the supermarket.

In the experience of my friends, it's $15 an hour when measured by their official recorded hours - as 'suggested' by the boss.

But significantly less per hour when all their actual worked hours are considered.

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As for party policies, at least Labour has recognised this rampant immigration is a bad thing and wants to do something about it. That's one up on National.

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Yes they are definitely on the right track. We need to limit immigration until the infrastructure has a chance to catch up. There still needs to be a completely open door to NZ'ers returning from overseas and also to Australian's who want to work here as that is completely reciprocal. If that means work visas have to be cut back on then so be it for the time being.
As an aside I had an Eastern European here on a visitor visa begging me for a job yesterday. Asking me to tailor the job title specifically so that he could acquire a work visa. We don't actually have any positions available but he didn't seem to want to take no for an answer (especially from a woman) and kept trying to talk to my husband instead. Sorry buddy I would rather hire someone who is legally able to work here already or better yet who my tax dollars have contributed towards their education and training.

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A guy from India I went to Uni with got a masters degree in hospitality without even showing up to class (he worked way more than 20 hours a week on a student visa).
I ran into him recently in Auckland and he told me to look into his work visa case as a favour (I studied accounting and business law at Uni).
Turns out the guy applied for a work visa under essential skills category for a waiting job and was reached out to by the immigration officer.
God help the fate of this country if the government thinks our unemployed locals aren't worthy of waiting tables and we have to import "essential skills" from other countries for it.

Motel I stayed in recently in rotovagas used to be staffed by many young Maori. During my last visit all waiters appeared Indian, one I spoke to just arrived here. Nice chap, great service, but really!

Did the ownership change since your previous visit?

Probably did, tourist businesses and accommodation have been selling to immigrants and foreigners since ages ago and the rorting with staffing is nothing new. I used to live and work there in that industry and saw it back then.

a new form of migration - migrating out of the milk bar dairy business into motels

Funny I noticed exactly that when I was in Rotorua about a month ago. My husband commented on the tourist experience of not meeting any locals.

More of the same is labours proposal, nothing that could make a scrap of difference to the current situation.

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What about the 50,000 + we are giving residency to each year? Most are not from english speaking countries and are not assimilating, in short they are not becoming kiwis. Once they have residency they can vote, once they can vote and participate in the political system then they can start to change the rules to suit themselves. Once the new NZers get to a big enough voting block then we lose the power to keep NZ as a western, british democracy. I am more worried about the residency figures than the temporary work visa numbers.

Me too. Think we need less temporary arrivals, but the Permanent long term are the numbers we need to cap. Every person that arrives needs a house or room immediately, Unless all of them are builders you will never catch up... Then what to do with an army of builders? You have to keep building... so you need more arrivals... and so it goes.. disappointed with Labours stance on this.

You are right
Not too far away
The number of foreign born in NZ is currently 40%+ which is a pretty small jump to 51%

Everyone I know in industry says they can't get good quality labour. It's a Catch 22 situation. If we don't have immigration it will slow down the infrastructure build.

Is it because the industry isn't employing and training new graduates, is paying staff bugger all, is expecting 60+ hour weeks as standard, treats employees like dirt or has useless management staff that don't know how to run a company?

The people I know high up in industry reckon this is a fiction. The indication is that they play this tune to keep staffing costs low. If there was a shortage we would see market dynamics at play and wages rising to bring locals in, not just foreigners.

Meanwhile 70,000 kiwi born kids rot on the scrapheap of under and unemployment. Few seem to give a damn about the long term consequences. Labour is making noises about better 'regulating' immigration but no cap. They sound half hearted. There is a collective main political party shoulder shrug.

How do "kiwi born" kids get on these days for finding work? I haven't read much about this in the news of late although it was quite a problem even when I left school. I imagine it must be harder these days as youths need to compete with people fresh off the boat for even basic jobs.

Being kiwi born and bred and schooled should give you a major advantage in the job market when you think about it yet many don't actively take advantage of their assets. I have often thought it would be great to have an organisation, a bit like that European Students Association, that would train young kiwis in the traditional European Kiwi Way (everyone welcome), maybe give them a certificate or something, proving they are well versed in Victorian attitudes, colonial pioneering spirit, number eight wire engineering and traditional virtues. Maybe a year long course post studies. If I were an employer I would be impressed by that.

I think in our multi-cultural society something like this is becoming needed for our "kiwi born" as they cannot be relied upon to do this themselves I've noticed and they are possibly being discriminated against by employers.

Being a young born and bred Kiwi is actually a disadvantage now when entering the job market in NZ. Most graduates have a bachelor and maybe a post-graduate diploma or honours degree (so 3 to 5 years of study) but no graduate experience. NZ employers are useless at hiring and training up grads because they don't need to. They simply import some foreigner with 3+ years of experience and pay them an entry level graduate salary of $20 an hour. And then they complain they can't find Kiwi workers to fill various job vacancies when they pay stuff all.

I know people on welfare who reckon it's not worth their while getting a job paying less than $30/hr. That sums up our stupid socialist system. Now...I can't wait for the howling about our low wages, a "living wage", etc. We're setting ourselves up for a complete Chinese takeover and it will be thoroughly deserved.

Nobody should get any money for nothing, it is times we rolled this back, why can they not report every day at 8,30am like the rest of us that work
Also I don't see why in this age we give money, they should get cards that can only be used for certain things food, shelter, power, if they need cash for extras Earn it, on that I would allow $100 per week tax free without losing your benefit

I know people on welfare who reckon it's not worth their while getting a job paying less than $30/hr. That sums up our stupid socialist system. Now...I can't wait for the howling about our low wages, a "living wage", etc. We're setting ourselves up for a complete Chinese takeover and it will be thoroughly deserved.

So they are saying no change from current policy settings just tinkering. Big fail from me for labour
I guess that only leaves greens 1% or NZ first 10 k to choose from to vote on this issue

I just have to ask this. "There still needs to be a completely open door to NZ'ers returning from overseas".

How do you stop a NZer coming back into their own country?

Andrew Little is sitting on the fence trying to win the vote both ways. Immigration is going to be the big debate in this election. Most people I talk to are fed up with this government but want a decisive leader. Winston is going to do well as he doesn't sit on the fence not wanting to upset anyone, he calls a spade a spade.

Immigration is an issue. Housing is an issue. Social housing is an issue. Public health system is an issue. Money laundering is an issue......................

Be national supporters and all the issue will vanish ( As per national all this is sign of prosperity) or vote for change.

Those issues donband are all caused by immigration. Immigration is the issue.