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The Government's Proposed Visa Categories

Just prior to the election in 2023, the National Party released a statement on new proposed visa types that they would seek to implement. These are summarised below.

  1. Innovation and Entrepreneur Visa: A centerpiece of the National Party's proposals is the "Innovation and Entrepreneur Visa," designed to attract entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors globally. This visa would offer accelerated pathways to residency for individuals with a proven track record of innovation and entrepreneurial success. By providing access to funding, mentorship, and supportive ecosystems, New Zealand would become a magnet for talent, driving economic growth and fostering a culture of innovation. The new Minister of Immigration has acknowledged at an industry event last year that she is aware that the current Entrepreneur Category is unworkable, with a decline rate of over 90%.

  2. Regional Development Visa: Recognising the importance of balanced economic growth, the National Party proposes a "Regional Development Visa" to encourage skilled migrants to settle in rural and underserved areas. This initiative aims to leverage the expertise of migrants to revitalise local economies, create jobs, and bridge regional disparities. By dispersing talent beyond urban centers, the party aims to promote sustainable development and support thriving communities across the country.

  3. Tech Talent Visa: With an eye toward strengthening New Zealand's position in the global tech landscape, the National Party advocates for a "Tech Talent Visa" targeting skilled professionals in high-demand fields like software development and cybersecurity. This visa would address critical skill shortages, enhancing the country's digital capabilities and competitiveness. By attracting top tech talent, New Zealand can drive digital innovation and transformation across industries.

  4. International Graduates Visa: This is one seems less likely - offering 500 visas to applicants who have graduated from a top-100 degree with a minimum Bachelors degree in the past 5 years. There is no further information about this yet.

Implications and Considerations: The government still needs to address chronic labour shortages, and breach the gaps exposed by the flawed Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) system, which was designed to prevent migrant exploitation, but had the opposite effect, allowing some employers to essentially sell job tokens to migrants (which is illegal). Hopefully some of these visas can fill in those gaps.

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