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Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway’s incompetence and inability to sort out visa processing delays is ruining the reputation of New Zealand as an attractive place to work, in turn impacting our economy, National’s Immigration spokesperson Stuart Smith says.

“Iain Lees-Galloway knew visa processing times were about to blow out eight months ago. Instead of getting on top of the issue early on, the Minister dawdled and now, because of his inaction, visa delays are having a major impact on our economy.

“Businesses can’t get the workers they need and tertiary institutes are missing out on millions of dollars of revenue. Fruit is ripening on the tress and there isn’t enough people to pick it.

“Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is taking so long to process some visas that interim visas are expiring, turning some applicants into overstayers. For a Government focused on kindness and caring, it isn’t kind or caring to leave people in such uncertainty and potentially breaking our immigration law.

“How long is it going to take the Minister to stand up, show leadership, and sort out these issues?

“As word spreads that it takes too long to apply for visas to New Zealand, people will simply choose to take their skills elsewhere, making it even more difficult for Kiwi businesses to fill the gaps.

“The Minister needs to sort this mess out so businesses can hire the right talent for them and don’t have to sit in limbo waiting for months.”

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