Election 2020

Labour would create quota for skilled foreign workers

With plenty of debate over when and how New Zealand should reopen its borders amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Labour has announced it would create a quota for skilled overseas workers to enter the country

The Labour Party has announced it would reserve 10 percent of the places within managed isolation facilities for “critical workers” from overseas.

The party has released new policies on border access and managed isolation arrangements, as New Zealand prepares to start reopening to the world following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the strict border controls currently in place had been critical to preventing the spread of the virus.

While strict controls would remain in place, “we know we also have to manage New Zealand’s economic need for skilled workers to help the country’s recovery”, Ardern said.

With space in managed isolation and quarantine facilities for roughly 14,000 people to enter the country each month, 10 percent of that space would be set aside for critical workers and other new arrivals, with the majority of spaces still available for returning New Zealanders.

Ardern said the party would work with the business sector and primary industries to ensure a streamlined and safe entry process for critical and skilled workers, where there was a genuine and justified need.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said it would also review where further adjustments could be made to expand immigration criteria “for people who can bring their skills and investment to New Zealand enterprise and help the recovery”.

“We will ensure people with unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand can enter the country safely. We’re doing this so that we don’t hold back economic opportunities in our recovery,” Ardern said.

Labour would also launch an “investment attraction strategy” aimed at targeted and high-value international investors, starting with an additional $12 million in funding to be split between New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and the Innovative Partnerships programme.

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