Allaying fears that immigrants were taking away jobs from locals, Michael Woodhouse, New Zealand’s Immigration Minister, said that 300 young entrepreneurs from over 50 countries had applied for their government’s global impact visa in the first year of the pilot programme of four years. About 100 of them will be granted visas.
Immigration New Zealand had launched the programme in 2016 in collaboration with the Edmund Hillary Fellowship. Woodhouse was quoted by National Business Review as telling the transport and industrial relations select committee of the Parliament that the visa had surpassed even their high expectations. With this visa, migrant entrepreneurs can gain a pathway to the permanent residency.
Initially, they will get a work visa with open conditions that give them an opportunity for permanent residency after they complete three years.
Nigel Bickle, Immigration New Zealand’s deputy chief executive, told the committee that investor visa programme was a success, though it did not receive applications from younger entrepreneurs who may not have had NZ$10 million in capital to put money into various investments, and added that the pilot project started very well with applicants evincing interest in industries such as agritech, augmented reality, biotech and virtual reality.
Woodhouse also told the committee that a lot of long-term migrants were either international students or people on working holidays. He added that net migration was increasing as New Zealanders were coming back from and more locals were not opting to leave the country.
He added that there were certain sectors where the migrant workforce was still required to fill vacancies that could be done only by people coming on essential skills visas.
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