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Review of immigration 'needed to fix skill shortages'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Last week’s debate around skill shortages, particularly in Auckland, showed there are some measures we could implement immediately and other things we could do to ease the tension between the skill requirements of business and the gaps immigrants can fill says Michael Barnett, head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

The review of Immigration NZ’s approach to recruitment should start by looking at how they target shortages in each region. "It is not enough to just rely on a nationwide skills shortage list." Immigration NZ’s immediate and long term skills shortages lists must be able to respond rapidly to changes in our economy and we need them broken down by region as they have been for the Christchurch rebuild. "The lists need to be developed strategically and with speed."

In other points for review Mr Barnett suggested:

Better target immigrants based on the real needs of business as a result of better consultation with business. Smarter use of MBIE’s Regional Economic Activity Reports which detail the major industry sectors for every region along with their employment and education performance

Encouraging education and training institutions to focus on offering the courses and skills training in demand in their regional communities and economies rather than using the foreign students as a means of balancing budgets.

"I note that Otago Polytechnic already do this, and it seems to work".

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