Monday, September 25, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 25/9/23

More migrant workers should help generate the tax income needed to provide benefits for job seekers

Under something described as a “rebalance” of its immigration rules, the Government has adopted four of five recommendations made in an independent review released in July,

The fifth, which called on the government to specify criteria for out-of-hours compliance visits similar to those used during the dawn raids, requires an amendment to the Immigration Act. That’s a job for the next Parliament.

Among the four changes that are being effected by this government, the cap for the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme will be increased from 19,000 workers to 19,500 workers for the upcoming season.

This means employers will be able to bring in 19,500 workers who will be paid wages, a chunk of which will be collected by Inland Revenue to provide the readies for the 360,276 people receiving welfare benefits, including the 180,372 on Jobseeker support.

And how was the number of extra migrant numbers determined?

Little was somewhat sparse, in explaining how the decision was reached.

The state of the minister’s liver at decision-time therefore can’t be ruled out of considerations.

RNZ reported that the increase in the cap for the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme is much smaller than last year.

“The cap increase last year, from 15,000 to 19,000, [was] quite big,” Little said.

“Because of the weather events earlier this year a lot of crops in some parts of the country have been wiped out, so my expectation is demand will be less. I settled at 500 as an appropriate increase.”

It looks like Little was not pressed to explain why seven more roles have been added to the Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement, which allows employers to recruit migrants at a lower wage than under the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

The agreement enables employers to recruit migrants for roles on the sector agreement at a lower wage threshold (currently $26.69 per hour) than under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (which has a current wage threshold of $29.66).

It looks like the political pressure generated by the demand for houses has prompted this decision:

“Cabinet has agreed to add seven roles to the agreement next year to continue the government’s delivery of new houses and infrastructure,” Andrew Little said.

Oh – and then there’s the decision to add 17 roles to the Green List.

From next year the ICT, automotive and engineering sectors will have the option of Green List visas when they need to fill specialist skilled role when a New Zealand worker cannot be found, Little said.

Latest from the Beehive


The Government has confirmed a number of updates to immigration settings as part of the rebalance.


Tangi ngunguru ana ngā tai ki te wahapū o Hokianga Whakapau Karakia.

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Susie Houghton of Auckland has been appointed as a new District Court Judge, to serve on the Family Court, Attorney-General David Parker said today.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

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