New figures show that the number of people expressing an interest to apply for New Zealand residence visas rose by more than a quarter in the last three visa ballots of 2015.
Given that the migration levels to NZ have been rising at record levels over the past year and a half, the fact that more applicants are now in the selection pool should not come as a major surprise.
However, one reason for the sudden surge in applicants towards the end of last year could be down to the NZ Government’s new initiative to encourage more migrants to settle in regional areas. Currently, Auckland attracts a huge percentage of new immigrants – one of the key reasons often cited for the spiralling property prices in and around the city – while many parts of the rest of the country struggle to attract the newcomers it needs.
The new incentives have seen the number of points awarded for someone who accepts a job offer outside of Auckland tripled from 10 to 30. The applicant must also pledge to stay in that region for 12 months.
However, while the government will be hopeful that its regional immigration policy is the main driver of the increasing number of applications, Professor Paul Spooney, a demographer at Massey University, is unconvinced whether the rise is linked to the new policy.
“The other thing that makes it difficult to know what’s happening is that our numbers just keep on going up and up,” he told Radio New Zealand. “The numbers of people being approved and the numbers arriving have gone up month on month for the last 16 months.”
The Professor also stated that he would like to see the amount of time a newcomer is required to stay in the regional area increased from one year to three or five years.
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