Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recommends tightening visa control for low-skilled work by young people on working holidays and overseas students because of high local youth unemployment.
The report praises the New Zealand immigration system that controls the both permanent and temporary workers proportionately of all 34 OECD countries in the late 2000s. Thomas Liebig, principal author of report, said skilled migrants in New Zealand were more likely to have jobs, and to have jobs aligned to their qualifications, than migrants in Australia and Canada. But he recommended giving more weight to high-level English language skills.
“Currently there is a minimum English level required from all principal applicants,” said Thomas, “but higher levels are not rewarded.”
Thomas said that evidence from OECD countries clearly demonstrate that better proficiency of the host-country language is associated with better labour market outcomes.
The report warns the numbers of young foreigners on working holidays or studying in New Zealand are reaching levels that may worsen local youth unemployment. Temporary workers under working-holiday schemes for people aged 18 to 29 have leapt from below 10,000 a year in the 1990s to 50,000.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said a planned review of the skilled migrant category would also include the report’s English language proposals.
Migration and Investment Association chairwoman June Ranson, however, said the current minimum English language requirement was “between a good and competent user of the English language” and does not see any benefit of additional points for higher level of English.
Other countries such as Canada is also now rewarding the applicants who have higher level of English or French language with extra points under the eligibility criteria for the same reasons of possibility of better integration into the labor market.