Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi’s decision to lapse and refund 50,000 temporary visa applications is further evidence his Government has no plan to reopen New Zealand up to the world post-vaccination and isn’t listening to the desperate calls from businesses for international labour, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“For 18 months the Government has strung along 50,000 desperately needed prospective workers and students who had hoped their frozen visa applications would be processed once our border opened.
“While businesses cry out for workers, thousands of MIQ spaces have been left unfilled, despite the Government’s promise to allocate 10 per cent of spaces to critical workers. Many of these overseas workers could already be here, filling labour shortages and helping our economy recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“Instead, they will take their skills and talents to other countries who are actively recruiting migrants to help rebuild their economies and New Zealand will miss out.
“Our tertiary sector is looking at a huge hit financially as international students who normally contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy will now go elsewhere after hanging on to immigrations promises to process their visas for 18 months.
“Refunding the 50,000 visa applications is going to cost the taxpayer $14 million.
“But the decision is especially heart breaking for the many families who have been holding out hope of reuniting with their partners and families in New Zealand and who now know there is no chance of this happening in the near future.
“While countries like Australia and the United Kingdom outline their plans to open back up to the world, our Government is sending the opposite message. New Zealand is closed off with no plan to change.”
Do you like this page?