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‘No new Indians’: New Zealand cracks down on ‘unsustainable’ immigration

New Zealand immigration crackdown

New Zealand has tightened visa rules in response to “unsustainable” record-high immigration levels, in a move expected to hit Indian would-be migrants hard.

Immigration Minister Erica Stanford announced the work visa changes on Sunday, which include new English language requirements, minimum skills and work experience thresholds, and a reduction in maximum stays for most roles from five to three years.

“Getting our immigration settings right is critical to this Government’s plan to rebuild the economy,” Ms Stanford said.

“The Government is focused on attracting and retaining the highly skilled migrants such as secondary teachers, where there is a skill shortage. At the same time we need to ensure that New Zealanders are put to the front of the line for jobs where there are no skills shortages.”

Indian media outlet RT India described the move as “no new Indians” and said the New Zealand government was “shutting the door”, while India Today noted  half as many student visas had been approved to Indian applicants as in the same period a year earlier.

Journalist Dita De Boni told Indian news site NDTV World the changes seemed to be aimed at restricting non-White immigration.

“The new rules being introduced in New Zealand will inevitably make it harder for Indian and other immigrants from countries outside the Anglosphere to come and work here. Whether or not that is the intention, however, is hard to tell,” she said.

In the year to January 2024 a total of 257,200 immigrants arrived in New Zealand, an increase of 91% compared with the previous year.

Indians were the largest migrant group with 51,000 arrivals, followed by the Philippines (36,500) and China (28,800).

During the same period 74,200 New Zealanders moved out of the country, along with 5,900 Indians and 8,700 Chinese.

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