HASH(0xbe5f50)

New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand announced Wednesday that it is introducing tougher requirements for skilled overseas workers as it tries to control immigration numbers that have reached an all-time high.

The changes come a day after Australia said it would scrap a temporary visa for skilled overseas workers and after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order he said should help American workers whose jobs are threatened by skilled immigrants.

New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said in a speech that the government was unapologetic that industries relying on overseas workers are finding it harder to recruit people from abroad.

“We are absolutely committed to the principle of kiwis first,” he said, using an informal term for New Zealanders.

The changes include new income thresholds. To qualify as skilled, immigrants will need to get a job in which they earn at least the median income. To qualify as highly skilled, they will need to earn at least 150 per cent of the median income. Other changes include a new three-year limit for workers with lower skills.

Woodhouse said the changes would control the number and improve the quality of immigrants.

It is the second time New Zealand has tightened its immigration rules in the past six months and the latest changes come during an election year, when many people have expressed alarm at the immigration rate.

In the year ending in February, net immigration reached a record 71,300 people, equivalent to 1.5 per cent of New Zealand’s total population of 4.8 million people. That’s a big swing from five years earlier, when net immigration was negative as more people left the country than arrived.

Part of the turnaround can be attributed to the nation’s healthy economy, which is growing at more than 3 per cent a year and is attracting back some New Zealanders who had moved abroad.

The largest numbers of new migrants to New Zealand are coming from China, India and the United Kingdom. The South Pacific nation’s median annual wage is about 49,000 New Zealand dollars (U.S. $34,400).

Nick Perry, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Okanagan residents can win ride in army vehicle

A social media campaign offers the chance to win a ride in the Dragoons armoured vehicle

Reel Reviews: War from both sides of the desk

We say, “Forgive these films their faults and they will be entertaining enough.”

Residents should keep air intakes clear of snow

Silver Star Fire Department is encouraging residens to keep their air intakes clear after snowfall

Provincial program offers assistance to agricultural producers

AgriStability Enhancement Program benefits agricultural producers who saw an income decline in 2017

‘Backs game cancelled due to weather

Match-up against Merritt called off as heavy snow creates treacherous roads

Your Feb. 19 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

BCHL Today: Langley enjoys home ice while roller coast ride continues for Chilliwack Chiefs

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling from B.C. court

B.C. Supreme Court decided to end the practice of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons

Hedley withdraws from Junos, plans to discuss ‘how we have let some people down’

Hedley was dropped by their label last week after sexual misconduct accusations

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: B.C. takes home gold in two-man bobsleigh

Women’s hockey team beats Russia 5-0, Comox skier takes home best qualifying score

Calgary man dies in Mexico following sudden illness

Troy Black was with his wife, Lindsay, in Puerto Vallarta when he began vomiting blood on Thursday

Virtue and Moir break their own world record

Virtue and Moir break short dance record to sit first in ice dance at Olympics

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

Most Read