New Zealand Labour Party

Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National

Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.

“Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that people granted a skilled migrant visa to work in New Zealand earn 10 percent less now than they did 10 years ago.

“Unsurprisingly those who have suffered the greatest drop in wages are those working in lower skilled industries, while those working in industries with a genuine skill shortage have seen their pay rates improve.

“When compared to New Zealand-born workers with the same skills, migrant workers earn considerably less. Skilled migrants in the transport, postal and warehousing sector earn $18,000 a year less than Kiwi workers.

“John Key’s government has issued over 1.2 million work visas for since 2009. Those have overwhelmingly gone to people working in lower-skilled jobs who end up earning poverty wages. People who transition from work visas to skilled migrant visas suffer the greatest wage discrimination.

“Former students are also hit hard. International students who stay on as skilled migrants are being exploited for their cheap labour.

“This blatant exploitation of migrant workers is suppressing wages for everyone working in New Zealand. It is a disgusting abuse of New Zealand’s immigration system.

“People with skills New Zealand genuinely needs are thriving and helping to drive wages up. That’s the kind of immigration we need and should focus on, not the shabby exploitation that has flourished under National,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.