Chefs, cafe and restaurant managers, and retail managers are the three occupational groups that will be most affected by raising the bar on immigration applications, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told the Cabinet before it approved changes to the points system. The points for approval for residency for skilled migrants has risen from 140 to 160 points, the first rise in 14 years. But Woodhouse also said the points system for skilled migrants was not delivering what was intended and the criteria needed to be revised. The changes to the points system announced last week are designed to reduce the number approvals for permanent residence, especially of low-skilled applicants. The Cabinet paper produced a table of the top 10 occupation of approvals in the past year with 140 points but who would not be approved at 160 points.
Chefs highestNumerically chefs were highest, followed by retail managers, then cafe or restaurant managers. Percentage-wise, carpenters and bakers would be seriously affected with almost all of those approved at 140 failing approval at 160. Nursing is a different story. The data suggests that half of those approved last year would still be approved with the higher test, and half would fail. But Woodhouse signalled bigger changes were needed. He paints a picture of a points system that is no longer delivering the sort of skilled immigrant it was designed to attract and he said some could be competing with Kiwis for jobs in some sectors. "The current points system, developed in 2003 when the category opened, appears to no longer be effectively prioritising the highest value migrants," he wrote.
The current points system, developed in 2003 when the category opened, appears to no longer be effectively prioritising the highest value migrants."The current skill composition of the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) migrants does not fully reflect the Government's wider objectives to lift skills levels and incomes. "There is a risk that lower-earning SMC migrants may be competing with New Zealand workers, including recent graduates, for lower-level supervisory and managerial roles in some industries." Woodhouse, who has spent much of the year defending the Government's immigration policy, proposed not only immediate changes, which were announced last week, but future ones to reduce the number of low-skilled workers. In the paper he proposed introducing a salary test for applicants in the skilled migrant category.