Andrew Little casts doubt on 2015 immigration change that awarded bonus points to immigrants who went to regions; Cites anecdotal evidence that many move to Auckland after a year

Labour has indicated it could scrap the government’s 2015 immigration tweak that awards foreign migrants application ‘bonus points’ if they promise to live in the regions for a year.

Instead, Labour would look to manage overall inflows while trying to create work opportunities outside Auckland that would attract and retain migrants through regional growth initiatives.

The party’s Election 2017 immigration policy is due in a few weeks. Leader Andrew Little has already talked about a desire to reduce Statistics NZ’s annual net permanent and long-term migration numbers by the “tens of thousands” by placing restrictions on student and work visas.

Little on Thursday cited “anecdotal” evidence that migrants who went to the regions for a year under the 2015 policy were likely to move to Auckland once that time was up. “I am reliably informed that has happened,” he said.

Little told a Wellington Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday morning that the law change might even have gone against New Zealand’s international obligations to allow freedom of movement.

He expanded on his comments to media afterwards: “The problem with a points system that says, ‘you go to a region for a year and then you’re free to do [what you want]’…we can’t imprison people in different parts of New Zealand,” Little said.

The changes had not reduced migration pressures on New Zealand’s largest cities “at a time when you have a chronic housing shortage, and real pressure on public services and on infrastructure.”

“Trying to put on more restrictions to manacle people to different parts of New Zealand is almost certainly in breach of international obligations we have to maintain freedom of movement,” Little said.

“As part of reviewing immigration, and better managing it, we’ll have a look at all of that sort of stuff. What I’m saying is, that there’s evidence that suggests that a points system that encourages you to go to a different part of New Zealand for a year, is not necessarily helping,” he said.

“To genuinely encourage new arrivals to go to different parts of New Zealand, you need the right opportunities in different parts of New Zealand. That’s what keeps people there, rather than just for a year before they drift back to Auckland.”

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27 Comments

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In the 70s and 80s about 1500 Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees went to Dunedin and Balclutha (of all places !)
Hardly any remain there within a decade - because most went to Australia. Meanwhile Bill English is scratching his head and can't understand what the Australian Government is miffed about.
People will go to where they see best for them. It seems for immigrants that's Auckland, or Australia. Strangely the net internal immigration of is out, yes "out' of Auckland. So for that city it's citizens moving out and immigrants moving in. Our government has very strange objectives indeed.

“People will go to where they see best for them”

100%!!

Quite so; we are seeing a lot of Aucklanders getting out of the place and coming here.
Interesting talking to them and finding out the motivation for the move, few mention the advantage of getting rid of a mortgage mostly they are no longer comfortable with the changes to the city, the people and the traffic. Mostly well established Kiwis but quite a few Brits and Europeans, if the trend continues be interested to see the next census.
The 2013 census had Auckland with 39.1% foreign born against 18% for the rest of NZ. Maybe heading for the 50% before long if the Nats get back in.

It's bordering on 'white flight.'

That's been happening within AKL for years, its called the North Shore. Must say that If i wanted to live in China and or India we have the option to relocate to either country. Walking around parts of Auckland, the line of whether one has actually moved is becoming increasingly blurred. We need more tax payers in NZ, but I'm just not sure that the general population is ready for how quickly it has been happening under National

I guess I now have the advantage of better insight into Maoris negative views of being overrun by white immigrants in the 1800's. One cannot help but muse on whether ones grand children in 80-100 years will be able to start a Claims process to address the damage Nationals immigration and overseas property ownership policy's have done.

Alternatively they could just relocate to Australia like the other 650,000 plus kiwis that already have. Its clearly more than just a commercial LOSS by the taxpayer (us all) in education and healthcare expenses to support young kiwis up to working/taxable age, just to export them before they can really contribute to the tax base.

True. Why would a white Kiwi immigrate to China or India though? Between NZ and non-western countries, immigration is a one-way street. There's nothing to attract you to a country that's worse off than the one you're leaving.

As for British colonisation, at least it was (for the most part) beneficial, despite the Maori getting a raw deal. Trade, commerce, education, a government, technology, medical advances, transport... At the time the Maori people were among the least civilised and most primitive populations on the planet and were overridden by a more advanced civilisation. Besides, if it wasn't the British who colonised NZ, it would have been the Dutch, Portuguese, French etc; all white western countries.

Yeah, Aussie is the first port of call for young Kiwis. NZ wages suck, and there's bugger all internships/cadetships/graduate positions here. Why earn $17 NZD and hour here when you can get upwards of $35 NZD an hour in Melbourne or Brisbane? NZ is a useless country in which to upskill or gain skilled work if you're under the age of 35. Successive governments don't seem to give a toss about the brain drain.

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The Nats do seem to have an obsession with importing as many new Aucklanders from the Third World as possible. Seems strange....all to prop up a GDP figure and appear to be doing a good job economically?

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But they are filling high-skill occupations that only a select few of the smartest New Zealanders would be able to do.

How many New Zealanders would be capable of learning how to drive a courier van, pump petrol or make a hamburger at your local McDonalds? The long and arduous years of training means very few kiwis will ever gain the necessary level of skill required for these jobs.

In fact, every time Ravindra serves me at my local supermarket I thank the National party for importing such a skilled individual, what an asset to the country!

Where is coming here ?

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24

Stop issuing permanent residency visas like toys in a happy meal box and you solve the problem. Only issue temporary work visas, which are limited to both employer and region. ie. If you are allowed into the country because Queenstown is experiencing a shortage of waiters, then your visa is restricted to the employer who sponsors you at that location. You shouldnt be able to just get up and leave your employer after a year and go to Auckland, where there is no shortage of New Zealanders who are willing and able to work as waiters. If you dont want to live in the areas where those skills are required, then you can go home.

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The government seems to have abandonment issues. So they rush to seal the deal for any person showing the slightest of interest in New Zealand. It is fairly easy to gain residency with low-skilled employment, poor English and no respect for our laws (Filipino dairy workers who lied their way into NZ are now eligible for permanent residency under the South Island pathway programme).
The immigration sham is evident in how Asian students talk about a pathway to residency as a right they bought by paying tuition to a low grade school and now voice their feeling of "betrayal" with the new rules in place.

always two ways street. if those perspective migrants are so high-valued they will have the capability to go to other places. just like Stanford and Cambridge can always raise their bars and still attract great number of top students but if auckland uni has the same requirements no one will give a toss. you know who's losing at the end of the day.

Tell that to the people running LookSee Wellington who have received 48k applications from high-calibre candidates for a few hundred tech job openings in Wellington.
Do not underestimate the attractiveness of New Zealand as a global destination for a promising career coupled with a peaceful life. The reason we do not make the first cut with global talent is the complexity of the migration policies which largely favour study pathways over direct migration.
When a low-quality diploma in business from a dodgy institute gets the same recognition (50 points) from Immigration NZ as a computer science undergrad degree from UofA, things are bound to turn sour for suitable applicants.

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I wonder why we bother with the sham of the student visa to residency pathway. People bleat about what a fantastic export industry international education is, and how it props up our educational sector, but I reckon you could make just as much money by ditching the pretence and auctioning off residencies to the highest bidder.

True. all it's doing really is putting money into private hands of a few, that few offering a product that can in many cases hardly be adequate under New Zealand's Consumer Guarantees Act.

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Saw that some scummy fake school was just closed down by NZQA for being completely crap. Standards are so low now that it must have been spectacularly bad. The students were to be redistributed amongst other crappy fake schools, so the ongoing immigration scam destroying New Zealand and devaluing real degrees is unaffected. Phew.

About time some real standards were set, places were limited to legitimate institutions, and it didn't come with a work visa and the expectation of residency.

I was reading that while places in German universities were largely free the standards were very high and it is hard work to get a degree because they don't treat it like a business. Food for thought.

Much better way of doing things.

It's another much-ignored downside of this scam. Degrees and diplomas from NZ institutions are totally devalued. Even if somebody's earned one fair and square, it's known that the institutions are under pressure to pass people who don't deserve it, so they're all tainted. It's opened up the market for counterfeit degree certificates too. As soon as it was feasible for non-New Zealanders to claim they had a degree from NZ universities, the fake stamps and seals started turning up.

Agree, this is critical.

How can neither the government nor the leadership of the universities see that they are devaluing their own product?

Every time academics come out and cite the pressure they're under to pass those who don't achieve to the necessary level; every time we see another case of students being let off cheating just because of their international dollars brought in; every time we hear another account from someone we know of overhearing "You have to pass me! I paid all this money!" or "It doesn't matter if I haven't attended, I've paid!"...each and every time, the value of a degree from New Zealand's universities is undermined.

I'm starting to think making our universities into businesses rather than educational institutes has been a terrible move with (perhaps) unforeseen consequences.

Temporary work visas and working holiday visas are actually propping up an uneconomic and unsustainable tourist industry in Queenstown - where the wages offered are well below the cost of living.

Imagine a situation where people just live where they choose!

It's a nightmare.

I'd live in your house. What's for breakfast, Ralph? :)

My dim memories of Quality Assurance programmes recollect if the sample isnt a pass you retest with a larger sample.
So lets hope every graduate of suspect institutes are required to resit resit all the english and diploma examinations.

About time, although Andrew Little missed the point that by awarding extra points for migrants settling in the regions, the regions get lower-skilled migrants than Auckland. Hence the plethora of low-value businesses etc that seem to dominate the main street of NZ small towns. In my small town there are more dairies, dollar stores, liquor shops, takeaway stores and cheap restaurants and cafes on the main street than there are all the other stores on the main street combined. I would add that I suspect these businesses are an economic drag on small town NZ.

Let's say how about 5 years 50% tax return for the people move/immigrant to the area needs more?

how about no funky schools for expats

The regions have NZ's highest unemployment. We don't need immigrants in the regions. Auckland sure as hell doesn't need them either.
Our export income is in decline. If more people was genuinely good for the economy then export earnings would be up, not down.
The reality of a growing population is pressure on housing and infrastructure. The growing population needs more police, more teachers, more medical facilities. These are all costs on the NZ taxpayer.
NZ's artificial population growth will unfold as the years go by to be the biggest financial disaster the country has experienced. John Keys population growth will make Muldoons think big projects seem like small change. But this isn't just a financial disaster folks, this is irreparable damage to the NZ lifestyle.