Migrating to New Zealand just got a lot harder for low-skilled workers who can’t speak English

Migrating to New Zealand just got a lot harder for low-skilled workers who can’t speak English

New Zealand’s government made immediate changes to an employment visa programme, citing “unsustainable” net migration and flagging further potential changes.

The alterations include introducing an English-language requirement and reducing the maximum continuous stay for a range of lower-skilled roles for the Accredited Employer Worker Visa, according to a statement issued on Sunday.

Minimum skill and work experience criteria will apply to most jobs covered by the programme.

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“These changes are the start of a more comprehensive work programme to create a smarter immigration system that manages net migration, responds to our changing economic context, attracts top talent, revitalises international education, is self-funding and sustainable, and better manages risk,” Immigration Minister Erica Stanford said in the statement.

The release estimated that migration last year was a near record 173,000 non-New Zealand citizens. The country’s population stands at about 5.1 million.

While the central bank recently softened the threat of another interest-rate increase, it has previously warned that the population jump might add to inflation due to extra demand for houses and rental accommodation.

The working-age cohort increased at a slower pace in the year through March, suggesting that the surge in foreign workers may have peaked.

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