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New Zealand’s new immigration rules

More and more New Zealand business and industries are expressing their concerns over tighter immigration rules which they fear will deter skilled migrants urgently needed to fill positions in the a variety of the country’s industries.

New Zealand’S New Immigration Rules

The New Zealand Hospitality Association said chefs are already in high demand in the country which faces a lack of appropriately skilled and qualified hospitality industry workers due to stricter immigration measures announced earlier this month.

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Spokeswoman for the organization, Rachael Shadbolt, said the industry fears that New Zealand’s immigration curbs, announced by the New Zealand Government, will impact on the hospitality industry and rural New Zealand.

These fears seem to be founded as the country’s financial markets reacted swiftly to tighter immigration controls set out by Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse, with the dollar sliding three-quarters of a US cent by late afternoon trading on the day that the new immigration rules were announced.

That saw the kiwi sink below 71 US cents for the first time since July reported Stuff Business.

But it is not only the hospitality industry that faces uncertainty. Federated Farmers employment spokesman Andrew Hoggard also voiced caution about the changes, noting unemployment was very low in parts of Canterbury and Southland.

The response from business groups to the changes, which include a 20-point rise in the number of points required by skilled migrants to achieve residency, was both measured and mixed.

In reaction to the changes Business NZ chief executive, Kirk Hope, said the changes were positive and showed the Government had taken on board employers' concerns regarding the skill base of people applying for permanent residency.

But Shadbolt of the Hospitality Industry Association said it would be "very concerned" if the new skilled-migrant threshold made it harder to attract chefs to New Zealand.

"If it does impact on our chefs then it is quite a significant situation for the industry,” said Shadbolt emphasizing the country’s lack of chefs for example.

Xero's global "people manager" Andy Burner said the company does not believe the higher number of points required by skilled migrants would stop New Zealand from attracting software developers for example.

“Xero was mainly recruiting highly-qualified individuals who should sail clear of 160 or 165 point level,” he said.

But Burner added that Xero is concerned about the impact of the rules on the children and spouses of their migrant recruits saying that the company is seeking clarification from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment whether the changes to the family residency programme would only impact parents of primary migrants.

"If it impacts on children and spouses that could make it much harder for us to bring through senior talent in that 30-plus category which is core to us for building and growing the skills that we need," he said.

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“The immigration changes sucked the wind out of a strong morning rally [on the day after the announcement] of the NZX sharemarket, with the NZX50 losing almost all its gains in afternoon trading,” commented Stuff Business.

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