New Zealand government curbs immigrant numbers
Updated: 2016-10-11 14:45
WELLINGTON -- The New Zealand government on Tuesday announced new curbs on the number of immigrants to the country, following a long-running debate over the effect of migration on the economy.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the changes to the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) for the next two years were part of a regular review of the numbers, but opposition lawmakers said the government was running scared of public opinion polls.
The changes included temporarily closing the parent category to new applications-a measure that will directly affect a huge number of Chinese parents wanting to live with their migrant offspring.
However, Woodhouse's statement did not detail how temporary the closure would be.
Overall the number of residence approvals for the next two years would be cut from 90,000-100,000 down to 85,000-95,000.
The government was also raising the requirements for skilled migrants and cutting the number of places for capped family categories from 5,500 to 2,000.
"Migrants make a valuable contribution to New Zealand both culturally and economically, and the government periodically reviews all our immigration settings to make sure they are working as intended," Woodhouse said.
"Today's announcement demonstrates the government is taking a responsible, pragmatic approach to managing immigration."
While, economic forecasters including the Reserve Bank of New Zealand have credited migration with bolstering the country's healthy economic growth, others have questioned whether the infrastructure is coping with record numbers of migrants.