New Zealand Immigration – What will the next 3 years look like?

Auckland City Skyline
Related expertise
Special Counsel

The Briefing to the Minister of Immigration has been released. This briefing, prepared after the 2023 election, provides an insight into the Government’s priorities, as well as areas that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) wish to discuss with the Minister, the Right Honourable Erica Stanford.

What areas are to be discussed?

The Briefing Paper sets out five priorities. 

Priority 1 is to support businesses to get the skills they need, through stable visa and immigration settings. Specific areas for discussion are:

  • Utilising the Accredited Employment Work Visa and skilled resident toolsets to secure skills for a productive economy.
  • Reducing migrant exploitation.
  • Expanding the Working Holiday Schemes; and
  • The role of immigration in rebuilding a high-quality and internationally competitive international educational sector.

Priority 2 is to work towards an immigration funding model that is efficient, self-funding and sustainable. MBIE wishes to discuss with the Minister how it can recalibrate immigration funding and make it sustainable. This will be through a mix of immediate savings that can be made, shifting the revenue sources to align with a self-funding operating model, and medium-term cost pressures.

Priority 3 is to work towards a strong performing regulatory system, by reducing the risk of regulatory failure or poor system performance, remove unnecessary compliance costs, and improve the effectiveness of government interventions and regulatory activities. MBIE has identified key improvements it wishes to focus on. They include:

  • Reviewing legislation and regulations to ensure they are fit for purpose.
  • Completing the migration of products to the new ADEPT ICT/business system; and
  • Endorsing simplification principles in policy and operational design.

Priority 4 is in relation to the immigration settings for the Pacific aligned with the Government’s overarching goals. MBIE wishes to:

  • Brief the Minister on the work MBIE has done on the RSE programme and align it with the Minister’s objectives; and
  • Progress Pacific preference labour mobility schemes.

Priority 5 is to strengthen policies to maximise the social good of immigration. Areas that MBIE wishes to discuss with the Minister are:

  • Work on complementary refugee pathways.
  • Settlement outcomes and support; and
  • The family and partnership settings within the immigration system.

It is of interest that the Minister will be looking at the family and partnership settings. Does this mean an increase in the minimum period that a couple must have resided together before being eligible to apply for residence? 

What are the next steps?

MBIE will prepare a series of briefings outlining the policy issues facing immigration, along with opportunities to advance the Government’s priorities. It will seek the Minister’s preference for the order in which these briefing papers will be sent through. 

Watch this space!

Our immigration law team will be watching developments and any announcements. We will provide updates as announcements are made. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance navigating the current system.

Special thanks to Special Counsel Nicky Robertson for preparing this article. 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.

Related insights

Find an expert