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01 November 2007
91 percent of New Zealand citizens feel that skilled migrants make an important contribution to their country, according to a new survey by ShapeNZ for the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Almost 90 percent of those surveyed are concerned with New Zealand's skills shortage and 75 percent feel that low pay is to blame. 66 percent of respondents said that they support at-work internships for skilled migrants to assist them in integrating into the New Zealand workforce.
Eight of ten respondents felt that skilled migrants add to social diversity and improve New Zealand's way of life. 40 percent feel that the effects of recent overseas migration have had a positive impact on their communities.
However, 70 percent feel that English language requirements should not be reduced.
Those surveyed also feel that there should be programs to try and lure back the estimated 1 million Kiwis working overseas.
There was wide support for incentives to encourage trained New Zealanders to stay in the country or to entice skilled Kiwis back home. In a multiple selection question on choosing the best solutions, 59 percent felt that tax incentives would help the most, followed by paying for resettlement costs (52 percent) and assisting skilled workers in buying homes (52 percent).
"With a booming world economy there is a global war for talent and we need to change our tax, migration and skills policies if we are to compete," said Peter Neilson, the Chief Executive of the Business Council.
The government has recently made changes to their immigration policy in an attempt to encourage skilled migration to the Pacific island nation. International students now have a year to find skilled employment and more points can be scored under New Zealand's Skilled Migrant Category for various criteria.
The ShapeNZ research was conducted in preparation for the Business Budget Summit 2007 between business leaders and New Zealand government ministers in Wellington on 01 November.