NZ migrant arrivals hit lowest mark since 1990s

Today’s net migration figures show that Labour has failed to deliver the desperately needed skilled migrants they promised, meaning labour shortages will persist into the future, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“In the year to June, 11,500 more people left New Zealand than arrived, with the lowest level of migrants arriving since the 1990s.

“This is in stark contrast to the Minister of Immigration’s lofty promise in March to deliver 20,000 critical workers to fill the shortage. Six months later, a mere 1,000 have arrived – just five per cent of Labour’s promise.

“This is a damning indictment of the Government’s immigration record which is completely failing Kiwi businesses. It is the 16th month in a row that New Zealand’s net migration has been negative.

“Businesses across all sectors are crying out for workers, but it’s clear that the grass looks far greener elsewhere and more and more New Zealanders are seeing their future lies overseas, under this Government.

“The stats are even worse for the Government’s new Accredited Employer Work Visa. In the five weeks since it opened, just 442 applications were received – not even close to the 3,500 per month that Immigration New Zealand predicted.

“The Government made a big song and dance about New Zealand opening up to the world, but their results on immigration are yet another example of Labour’s utter failure to deliver.

“Labour shortages are reducing productivity and driving up prices, making the cost-of-living crisis even worse. ANZ’s August Quarterly Economic Outlook found that there is no capacity to meet demand without increasing inflation and that net migrant outflows mean labour supply problems won’t be resolved quickly.

“Migrants still have no pathway to residence unless they are on the Green List or earn over $115,000 per year. This shows a total lack of understanding about what drives migrants, who will not come to New Zealand if they do not have certainty over their future.

“The Government’s immigration policies have been a total disaster and have failed to make a dent in the critical worker shortages that exist. From shortages in farm and construction workers to nurses and midwives – Labour has no plan, and Kiwis are paying the price.”