Nelson Marlborough Farming - Skilled migrants vital

Columns
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Attracting skilled migrants to North Canterbury is vital to maintaining a healthy and vibrant economy.

Skilled migrants bring valuable experience, labour and capital, which is of great benefit to the region.

To date, most skilled migrants arriving in New Zealand are drawn to the major centres, in particular Auckland. That is about to change.

The Government's immigration reforms, announced last month, encourage new migrants to live, work and set up businesses in regional New Zealand.

From November 1,2015, skilled migrants who receive a job offer based in regional New Zealand, rather than a main city, will receive more points towards residency. In return, they will be required to commit to living in their chosen region for a minimum of twelve months, rather than the current three.

This extension of time will give new migrants more time to put down roots and fully experience the great lifestyle that areas such as Hurunui, Kaikoura and Waimakariri have to offer.

They will make connections in the local community, their children will attend a local school, and they will join local groups, organisations and clubs.

After twelve months, the chances that they will stay in the area are likely to be higher than they would be after just three months.

In addition to migrants in the Skilled Migrant category, the reforms assist Entrepreneurs who choose to establish, or take over and commit to growing existing businesses in the regions. These migrants with high-level business experience not only bring their skills and experience, but also their valuable cultural and business links.

Evidence suggests that firstgeneration migrants do really well where they settle. They are motivated and bring vibrancy to the business community, they present different views and ideas on how businesses run: They drive business, and isn't that what we want?

As new endeavours grow and develop, the demand for other goods and services is likely to increase, leading to the creation of opportunities in other sectors.

Demand for services will initiate supply and improvement, which in turn will lead to more jobs and new opportunities.

In providing these migrants with new opportunities in New Zealand, we will in turn gain from the new opportunities that they bring.