Possible work visa cuts leaves businesses worried

Another record increase in immigration has Labour leader Andrew Little continuing his calls for it to be cut by "tens of thousands".

But there are questions about what that would mean for businesses.

Argentine immigrant Alberto Morrone moved to New Zealand 13 years ago on a work visa.

He got a job as a building labourer and has since started his own company - but he says he can't get enough Kiwi workers.

"We are looking for people to help with advertisements, Work and Income, and they have no people to help," Mr Morrone told Newshub.

The latest immigration figures show 129,500 people came here in the last year. When you take into account people that moved overseas, the inflow of immigrants, net migration, was a record 71,900.

That's got Mr Little calling for a cut, suggesting work visas be looked into.

"We cannot keep jamming more and more people into Auckland and New Zealand, we've got to cut back, we've got to take a breather. We've got to take some time to catch up," he said.

"You look at what work visas are being issued for - things like labouring jobs, things like retail supervisors, which is work that I am confident that out-of-work New Zealanders can do."

Mr Morrone questions where those cuts could come from, saying he's not sure where they'll end up finding people to work.

Last week Mr Little was specific, suggesting net migration be dropped to 20,000 to 25,000 - a cut of around 50,000.

But on Wednesday he refused to do the maths.

"I have never said we're cutting by 45 or 50,000, or whatever it is other people have said," he said.

"I talked about cutting by tens of thousands."

Mr Little says he'll add crucial details on how Labour will manage the cut in the coming weeks.


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