top of page

Another immigration backflip from Labour

PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 28 February 2023 -

Another immigration backflip from Labour

Labour’s backdown on removing work rights for the partners of migrants is another embarrassing u-turn for a Government that has proved utterly incapable of bringing in skilled workers, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“Immigration settings under Labour are a total shambles. One thing is clear right now – New Zealand must be the most attractive destination possible for workers.

“Despite this, and with complete disregard for the warnings of the sector, Immigration Minister Michael Wood was intent on removing the open work rights for the partners of migrants.

“Mr Wood clearly knew this was a terrible idea because he had already delayed its implementation last year. All this achieved was migrants choosing not to come to New Zealand because of the uncertainty surrounding their partner’s open work rights.

“Only now, after thousands of possible migrants have already looked the other way, the Minister has acknowledged the Labour Government had got this wrong. He has now essentially scrapped his proposal to remove open work rights, allowing the partners of migrants to work for any employer without a job offer.

“Amidst Labour’s flip-flops, Mr Wood has tried to save face by tweaking the settings so that partners can only work for accredited employers in a role which pays the median wage.

“The Minister has a fundamental misunderstanding of the migrant workforce. The reality is that the partners of high-skilled migrants often fill lower-skilled roles, which New Zealand desperately needs, but they will struggle to find work at the median wage of $30 per hour.

“The upshot of this is that these higher-skilled workers will simply choose a more attractive destination which offers more certainty to their partners.

“For months now, National has called on the Labour Government to maintain open work rights for partners of work visa holders and to scrap its planned changes to the median wage threshold this month, which would cost most businesses an extra $4,000 annually just to hire a migrant.”


bottom of page