29 Jun 2014

Labour amends immigration policy

8:28 am on 29 June 2014

Labour says it will broaden the immigration points system to allow more highly skilled people to gain residency in New Zealand if they agree to settle in regions other than Auckland.

It also wants to gradually lift New Zealand's refugee quota, from 750 to 1000, once migration pressures ease.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard said around half of all permanent arrivals stay in Auckland, which puts pressure on the housing market.

He said a Labour government would give people with the skills New Zealand needed, such as in the information technology sector, a better chance at residency.

But Mr Mallard said there was no reason why people working in sectors such as IT must stay in the city.

He said Labour would give preference to those who moved to other regions.

"We're going to do this through a points system and also giving them preference of permanent residence as opposed to being on a work visa if in fact they stay in those regions."

Mr Mallard said Labour would also require employers bringing in migrants to pay at least the living wage of $18.80 an hour and to ensure they had training plans in place before they were allowed to bring them in.

But Prime Minister John Key said the Labour Party's new immigration policy was a complete shambles.

Mr Key said it was only recently that Labour leader, David Cunliffe, said he wanted to clamp down on the number of people coming here.

He said he was not sure the country could cope with raising the refugee quota.