National’s Plan to Fix the Immigration Crisis



As the world moves to speed up their economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the race to attract and retain global talent will continue to accelerate as countries and businesses compete for the best and brightest.


New Zealand’s immigration settings will play a key role in driving productivity, sustainable growth and innovation to support our recovery. If New Zealand wants the best international talent, we need to be the best on immigration. National has a plan to put New Zealand in the best position to attract and retain the talent we need to grow.


Our immigration system has become a shambles over the past few years; huge delays in processing visas resulting in a years-long backlog of residency applications, a frozen Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) visa Expression of Interest (EOI) pool leaving migrants stuck in limbo, entirely avoidable labour shortages in some of our most critical industries, and above all a Minster who seems utterly uninterested in fixing any of these issues.


Many migrants – our doctors, teachers, engineers, construction workers and nurses – are fed up and are leaving. That means longer wait times at hospitals, larger class sizes for your children, and longer delays to get houses built. It also means more pressure on the already soaring cost of living in this country, as labour shortages flow through to further price increases, hitting Kiwis in the back pocket.


A National Government would fix our broken immigration system and ensure New Zealand communities can benefit from all the world has to offer.


By urgently addressing the residency backlog, offering a Covid Contribution pathway to residency, and decoupling works visas from specific employers, we can clear the decks and start again with a system that works for New Zealand.



Our plan

National’s plan will solve the immigration crisis in three steps:


1. Open EOI pool and clear the residency backlog

The EOI pool for SMC visas has been closed since March 2020. This means skilled migrants who are already in New Zealand are effectively blocked from applying for residency. There are currently 1,000 nurses and doctors languishing in this pool, along with 500 school teachers. Many are giving up and are starting to leave.