New Zealand engaged in full review of immigration policy by year end

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On any one day, there are between 225,000-250,000 people in New Zealand temporarily as students, workers or visitors. During 2004 and 2005, approximately 90% of applicants approved for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category previously had been granted temporary permits and visas of some type.

In March 2005, the New Zealand government proposed and initiated the most comprehensive review of immigration legislation in 20 years.

Earlier this month, the deadline for public submissions on the proposal was been extended from 14 June to 30 June due to popular response. In late 2006, the New Zealand Cabinet will review all submissions and introduce a Bill to the Parliament sometime in early 2007. The Bill will be drafted with the intention of replacing the existing 1987 Act and its various, subsequent amendments.

The Hon David Cunliffe unveiled the Immigration Act Review Discussion Paper 2006 on 05 April of this year, which is part of a wider program to review New Zealand's entire immigration system. The stated purpose of the Review is to "develop immigration legislation that better meets New Zealand's immigration needs."

Currently, New Zealand is aggressively recruiting skilled workers in an increasingly competitive world work environment. Millions of visitors, students, workers and migrants enter the country every year.

New Zealand also has the lowest unemployment in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Attracting skilled migrants to New Zealand's workforce has been and continues to be a key priority for the economic health of the country.

In a press release, the Hon David Cunliffe stated "These will be ongoing, complementary changes to ensure we have an integrated immigration system that is designed for the 21st Century."

"The options in the paper are only proposals, and are not yet government policy."