21 Mar 2005

Samoa happy with changes to New Zealand's immigration quota system - NZ Foreign Minister

8:45 pm on 21 March 2005

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Phil Goff says Samoa has welcomed recent changes to the requirements people need to meet to be able to emigrate to New Zealand.

Immigration was a key feature in the first Joint Ministerial talks between the two countries at the weekend in Apia.

New Zealand allows 1700 Samoans a year to immigrate but so far this year just 300 people have been accepted, despite changes to boost those qualifying.

A division was set up in the Department of Labour to help match job seekers with the available work, and the minimum wage level lowered - changes, Mr Goff says, are supported in Samoa.

"'I think that the people we spoke to in the government and the people we spoke to on the ground felt that the changes that New Zealand had made were in the spirit of the Treaty of Friendship, were designed to help ensure that those entitled to fill the 11-hundred positions had the opportunity to actually take up the jobs available in New Zealand, and that we were now actively matching people to jobs."