New Zealand to tighten work visa rules in 'Kiwis-first approach' to immigration

New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English speaks to the press in this file photoREUTERS/Charlotte Greenfield

A day after Australia and the US tightened rules on visas for skilled workers, New Zealand announced on Wednesday (19 April) that it will tighten its immigration laws.

The country's Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said that he was taking a "Kiwis-first approach to immigration" and reiterated the policies of US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Under the proposed new rules, migrants would have to earn a minimum of NZ$49,000 (£26,795) to be considered a skilled worker and approximately NZ$73,000 to be considered highly skilled, seasonal workers would be allowed to remain in the country for three-years only and the administration is also making it tougher for family members of visa holders to migrate.

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Woodhouse said, "We have always said that we constantly review our immigration policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and today's announcement is another example of this government's responsible, pragmatic approach to managing immigration."

"These changes are designed to strike the right balance ... and encourage employers to take on more Kiwis and invest in the training to upskill them."

According to Radio New Zealand, partners and children of visa holders will not be allowed to direct entry into the country for work or as students. They would instead have to meet visa requirements on their own.

The government had last year closed the parent migration category.

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