Local councils are working together with Priority One and Immigration New Zealand to attract and retain skilled migrants to the Western Bay of Plenty.

Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Priority One, and Immigration New Zealand have developed the Western Bay of Plenty Regional Partnership Agreement, a three-year plan to work collaboratively on shared priorities.

The organisations will share research, information and best attraction and retention practices across regional, national and international settings.

In the new partnership, Immigration New Zealand will also support the Western Bay of Plenty International Strategy, recently considered by the Joint Governance Committee meeting of Tauranga City Council and Western Bay District Council on December 9 and recommended for approval.

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Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said skilled migrants, investors, and international students had a critical role to play in the continued economic growth of the Western Bay of Plenty.

Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson said strong relationships between local councils and government agencies were "immensely" important.

"This Regional Partnership Agreement provides a framework from which we can work together to connect the Western Bay of Plenty with the rest of the world."

Priority One's Greg Simmonds said the attraction and retention of skilled migrants was necessary to sustain and stimulate economic growth.

"Migrants play an important role in the transfer of knowledge and skills supporting innovation and growth, as well as addressing the skills gaps we have in a number of our key sectors."

Immigration New Zealand Settlement, protection and attraction unit general mamager Steve McGill said the new collaboration identified opportunities where Immigration New Zealand could support migration priorities for Tauranga City and the Western Bay of Plenty District.

"A critical ingredient in the Regional Partnership Agreement approach is the active engagement with partner agencies, so they are thinking about the role Immigration can play in their economic development strategy - the Western Bay of Plenty has been an exemplar in this respect."

Priority One and Immigration New Zealand will focus on the attraction and retention of skilled migrants, including international students and migrant investors. Both councils will focus on migrant retention and community-building.