National's immigration policy aims to stem the exodus of Kiwis and bring more home, as well as to create a climate that encourages skilled immigrants to our shores, says National's Immigration spokesman, Lockwood Smith.
"New Zealand has tragically lost more than 80,000 people overseas permanently in the past 12 months. That is more than 1,500 people each week. The numbers departing have been steadily worsening. Departing Kiwis are replaced by new immigrants, which makes immigration policy critically important to New Zealand's future.
"Creating the opportunities here in New Zealand to stem that debilitating loss will be a priority for the next National Government. Those opportunities must also attract back to New Zealand those Kiwis who have been developing their skills abroad, as well as other skilled people."
Dr Smith says National's immigration policy has three overriding objectives:
• To attract more overseas Kiwis back to their home country.
• To better match the skills of immigrants with the employment needs of our economy.
• To make our immigration services world class in their efficiency and effectiveness, and restore confidence in the integrity of Immigration New Zealand.
Dr Smith says creating the right conditions to encourage New Zealanders to come home is paramount.
"We will ensure that tax, regulatory, and infrastructure policies make returning home an attractive prospect for highly skilled ex-pat Kiwis. We will also require Immigration New Zealand to initiate a one-stop-shop approach to servicing the needs of returning New Zealanders. "
National will also:
• Streamline employer accreditation policies to recruit overseas.
• Reduce the bureaucratic barriers to being able to hire seasonal workers from countries outside the existing RSE scheme, where the RSE scheme is unable to meet employers' needs.
• Introduce a Silver Fern Visa to enable people with recognised tertiary qualifications to be in New Zealand for a short period of time to seek permanent employment in highly skilled areas which are of high value to the New Zealand economy. Silver Fern Visa holders may undertake temporary work while seeking highly paid permanent employment.
• Set realistic investment capital and English language requirements for business immigrants.
• Establish a Retirement Visa for high net-worth people wishing to live in New Zealand at no cost to the taxpayer.
"National will establish a world-class immigration service. We all know that confidence in Immigration New Zealand has reached an all-time low. Countless scandals have seriously damaged the reputation of the service. This has now become endemic within Immigration New Zealand, and the time to address this is long overdue."
• Review Immigration New Zealand to ensure there are clear lines of accountability.
• Ensure there is fairness and transparency in every aspect of Immigration New Zealand's processes.
• Explore the possibility of establishing a stand-alone Department of Immigration and Citizenship, combining existing resources and functions currently within Immigration New Zealand and the Department of Internal Affairs. This outcome would be acceptable only if we could be assured it could occur within existing resources and would not lead to a rise in the number of bureaucrats.
"National wants to assure potential immigrants, along with all New Zealanders and Kiwi employers, that they will be given an efficient, world-class immigration service that acts with integrity and produces the best outcomes for the widest interests of New Zealand.
"In addition, we will implement the most attractive policies to maximise the number of Kiwis worldwide who want to, again, make New Zealand their home."