Woodhouse’s ‘Kiwis-first approach to immigration’ raises eyebrows

New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is adamant the country will be taking a “Kiwis-first approach to immigration” from here on in.



Woodhouse has effectively echoed the stances of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and United States President Donald Trump in announcing policies to ensure more jobs for Australians and Americans, respectively.

The changes, which will be introduced in New Zealand later this year, will include the introduction of a minimum income requirement. This will make it tougher for family members to join visa holders – and limit the amount of time seasonal workers are allowed to stay in New Zealand.

“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,” said Woodhouse.

The proposed changes would require employers entering on a prioritised “skilled” visa to provide a minimum income of $NZ49,000. Those earning more than $NZ73,000 would be classed as highly skilled.

NZ Prime Minister Bill English added: “The changes are about controlling the flows, I’m just not going to forecast exactly what impact they may or not have because forecasts have proven to be wrong so often over the last couple of years.

“We want to be able to control the flows and get a good match between the skills we need – because we certainly have skill shortages and need to fill the gap – and make sure we get the right mix of people coming in.

“You always have to keep tweaking the policy to adjust to the economic reality on the one hand, but on the other hand to make sure you are getting the right mix for the good of the country not just for that industry.”