Fossicking on one of MBIE’s websites, I found a huge spreadsheet showing all work visas applications for the last five years. I deleted the ones that were declined and starting to have a look at what occupations the people had who received New Zealand work visas over that period. Not all of them, by any means, will have gone on to permanent residence, but most permanent residence approvals are of people already living in the country (eg on a work visa).
This chart is just for occupations starting with the letter A, showing those for which there were more than 100 approvals over this period. Given that the focus of the immigration programme is supposedly on highly-skilled migrants, the number of aged care workers was striking (albeit not too surprising). I’ll assume that most of the actors were genuinely short-term project related (while recognising that the film industry only survives through large taxpayer subsidies), but number 5 on this list was also a bit of surprise. Skill-based lifts in productivity driving off an influx of foreign accounts clerks?
Some of the approvals I don’t show raised a wry smile. It wasn’t clear, for example, quite what demand there was in New Zealand for a (single) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker. Or for an antique dealer?
I’m not sure my enthusiasm will hold for the rest of the alphabet, but in case not I should mention that as I glanced through the spreadsheet I found that the New Zealand government – focused on lifting national productivity, according to those Treasury papers – had granted work visas to 149 checkout operators and 227 shelf-fillers.