The 2006 Budget has included an additional NZ$16 million over four years to further increase border and security issues. New Zealand continues to aggressively recruit foreign workers for many skills, but has also taken advantage of its strong economy over the past years to evaluate and tighten visa and residency permit policy and implementation.
The latest budget allocation is in addition to the NZ$13 million dedicated last year, and all is in addition to the NZ$20 million earmarked since 2003. The Minister of Immigration, Hon David Cunliffe stated specifically that New Zealand welcomes legal immigrants, but that their only concern is that all are law-abiding.
Recent incidents of minor corruption in the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) offices have been aggressively investigated and corrected immediately. Approximately 19 cases in the past three years have risen to the criminal level, with another 100 being considered minor misconduct.
Other loopholes have been closed as others are identified and targeted. Previously, the use of falsified birth and death records for passports and visa's had been possible, but all documents are checked carefully against these records now under the increased vigilance and budgeting.
With a population of 4.1 million, an increase of 296,150 people (7.8percent) since the 2001, New Zealand has become a popular and highly secure location for immigration. It has made several strong initiatives to strengthen its economy, and to stabilize it in highly sustainable, modern, industries. It continues to require and import many skills to support its growing domestic base and standard of living.
A program to encourage the estimated 455,000 New Zealand expatriates to return from Australia is on-going, with strong marketing initiatives and incentives becoming available this month. However, many of these expatriates seem unlikely to return at this time, so opportunities for other foreign workers and immigrants remain strong.
New Zealand continues to be one of the greenest economies in the world, taking pride in environmentally responsible business and lifestyle. Humanitarian efforts are also strongly supported. Asylum-seekers are still welcome, so long as they are willing to go through the process formally. Spontaneous asylum-seekers have fallen off by approximately 75% in the last five years, in large part due to increased technology under the budgets.
The New Zealand economy is considered among the worlds strongest at this time. Unemployment is boasted as being the lowest in the developed world.