Rebalancing New Zealand’s Immigration System


On 11 May the Government announced changes to New Zealand’s immigration settings to address the immediate skill shortages. The changes include a new Green List to attract high skilled migrants by providing a pathway to residency for globally hard to fill roles. The list features 85 hard to fill roles including construction, engineering, trades, and tech.

The rebalance aims to make it easier to attract and hire high-skilled migrants, while supporting some sectors to transition to more productive and resilient ways of operating, instead of relying on lower-skilled migrant workers.

Together these changes aim to:

  • Encourage employers to offer competitive wages, hire less experienced New Zealanders and train them, and work together as a sector to showcase employment opportunities and career pathways. This will help build businesses’ resilience and productivity.

  • Encourage businesses to invest more. Technology provides huge opportunities to increase productivity and create more value, and these upfront investments will pay dividends in the long run.

  • Reduce the recent pressure on infrastructure and housing and support economic growth.

The Government said GDP growth had been led by high levels of migration and claims by shifting to a higher skill mix of migrant labour and reducing reliance on low wage low skill migrant labour, would help grow a more productive economy.

The Construction Sector Accord welcomed the Immigration Rebalance. Accord Transformation Director Dean Kimpton said, "The sector has been getting hammered by COVID and workforce shortages and supply chain issues. This opening of the borders to construction talent won't take away those problems but it is really good news for the sector." 

The full details of the Government’s Immigration Rebalance, including changes to settings, can be found here.

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