Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Crack down on unskilled immigration, says Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan has vowed to crack down on immigration, saying New Zealand has opened the door to "glorified dishwashers".

Morgan has started his own political party - called The Opportunities Party (Top) - and will contest next year's election.

This morning he launched Top's immigration policy, saying there was a "big downside" to high immigration.

Morgan said his party would review the criteria for skilled workers to block people from using it "as no more than a life raft".

Permanent residency applicants would need to have worked in New Zealand for at least five years, up from the current two-year residency requirement.

The requirement for highly skilled migrants to have a job to come to would also be removed.

Morgan, launching the policy at Wellington airport, said Top would cut off the "loophole" used by student and working holiday visa holders to gain residency. That included ending the points system that favoured people already in New Zealand.

"What we want from India and China is their best brains. We don't want their flotsam, basically - the low end of their labour market."

New Zealand needed to be aggressive in pursuing the best international talent, Morgan said.

"We've had the Trump phenomena, we've had Brexit, we've got ugly nationalism marching across Europe - there is a huge supply of talented people who are suitable to come here and create wealth for us."

There was a risk that low skilled immigration was suppressing wages and keeping some New Zealanders from work, he said.

- NZ Herald

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