15 April 2024

Govt updates New Zealand Residence Programme

By Gurbir Singh:

The Government today announced the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) Planning Range through to the end of the year.

The NZRP is the Government’s statement on who can get New Zealand residence each year. The NZRP Planning Range sets the upper and lower number for residence visa approvals.

The transitional Planning Range will be 50,000 to 60,000 residence approvals from 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2019 with proportions for Business/Skilled: 51% ; Family: 38%; International/Humanitarian:11%.

From 1 January 2020, the Government will replace the Planning Range with a more targeted approach that focuses on the management of specific residence visa types. This includes introducing new objectives to help maximise the NZRP’s contribution to New Zealand’s economic and social well-being.

The new objectives include:

  • attracting skilled workers and business migrants
  • reunifying the families of New Zealand residents and citizens
  • meeting international and humanitarian commitments.

While the new approach and monitoring systems are being developed, Immigration New Zealand will continue to process existing and new residence visa applications according to current immigration instructions.

The annual net gain of migrants for the year ending July 2018 was 63,800 and has fallen from a record high of 72,400 in July 2017 (this was also due to higher inflows of returning New Zealanders and lower numbers of New Zealanders leaving). The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) September 2018 baseline forecast is for annual net migration to decline by 9 per cent, reducing to 57,000 in the September 2020 year.

Between the period 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018, 85,632 resident visas were granted; and 39,400 resident visas are forecast to be granted for the 2018-19 financial year and 44,000 in 2019-20 under the government’s current policy settings.

Resident visa approvals are forecast to increase annually to just over 44,000 in the June 2020 year driven mainly by people seeking residence through work and as partners of New Zealanders.

Currently, almost 80% of permanent residence applications are made by people already in the country, typically on a working visa. This is contrary to the early 2000’s when most residence applications were from offshore.

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