New Zealand’s Productivity Commission has called on the government to increase its immigration rate amid a reduced number of migrant arrivals during the pandemic.
The commission also called New Zealand’s pre-pandemic immigration rates “unsustainable” and criticised the government’s “inability or unwillingness” to build an infrastructure to support prospective migrants.
Moreover, the Productivity Commission urged the New Zealand government to remove visa conditions that tied skilled migrants to a specific employer in the country.
The commission made the comments in its first draft report to the inquiry announced by Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson.
In its report, the Productivity Commission asked the government to build an infrastructure to prepare for new residents and a growing population.
The commission also said that “disconnections” between other policy areas meant that the public infrastructure lost its ability to cope with migration, which added to the burdens of the broader community in New Zealand.
On exempting skilled migrants from being tied to specific employers in New Zealand, the report said that allowing migrants to move within the country reduces the risk of exploitation and would enable them to find jobs that better match their skills and experience.
New Zealand’s Productivity Commission is tasked with advising the government on improving productivity to support the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders.
It was set up during the early tenure of the John Key National-led government as an economic think tank and is currently headed by former BERL economist Dr Ganesh Nana.
Following a lengthy backlog of residency applications that piled up during the pandemic, Immigration New Zealand faced immense backlash from migrants and residency hopefuls who were suffering from not being updated on their status in the country.
Widespread criticism and backlash from migrants who qualified for residency led the New Zealand government to announce a one-off residency visa for 165,000 applicants, which would allow onshore skilled visa holders to obtain residency in the country.