Immigration is not a solution to filling skills gaps – The Economist

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins speaks to the media after meeting business leaders in Auckland.
Picture: RNZ / Nick Munro

A leading economist says New Zealand has never had a “proper conversation” about what immigration is for, creating uncertainty for both migrants and jobs in the country.

Shamobil Agoub of Sense Partners said checkpoint Making it easier for workers to come to New Zealand would benefit sectors such as health, which face severe labor shortages, but he warned against easing immigration adjustments too much in the current economy.

“New Zealand has long relied on immigration to fill our skills gaps, but it’s not a panacea because when people come, that also increases demand,” he said.

With the country currently facing “incredible demand for workers,” Eaqub noted that job postings across the business community began to decline late last year.

“That means I think there’s less urgency to open the hatch, per se.”

Shamobile Aqoub

Shamobile Aqoub
Picture: has been supplied

His comments came as the country’s new prime minister said after meeting business leaders in Auckland that changes to immigration regulations to ease labor shortages were a definite possibility.

Chris Hipkins visited the Auckland Chamber of Commerce hoping to address concerns about his party’s handling of issues such as inflation and labor shortages.

Among those who met him were Fonterra’s CEO, bank chiefs, Auckland Airport chiefs and other business leaders.

Chief executives told the new prime minister that staff shortages were their biggest problem as they discussed solutions to the recession.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule out more changes,” Hipkins said. The conversation I had with the business community was about striking the right balance.

It’s a balance between changing immigration settings and empowering local workers across the country, he explained.

But Aqoob said checkpoint New Zealand has “never had a proper conversation about what immigration is for”.

“We kind of use it as a political tool to deal with whatever we want at the time,” he said.

“Right now it happens to be a labor shortage, 10 years ago it was because we wanted population growth and economic growth, and I think it’s really unfair to use immigrants as these little political chess pieces. .

“We need to be a bit more structured about what we want, which creates more certainty – both for migrants and for businesses in New Zealand.”

“Auckland is incredibly important.”

Much of the prime minister’s meeting with business leaders was behind closed doors, but Hipkins later said he had a clear message for those struggling.

“We want businesses to grow in New Zealand so they can create good, well-paying jobs for New Zealanders so Kiwi families can thrive.”

He said his government was supporting New Zealand business to do this and said it would work to ensure it was done as quickly as possible.

Hipkins also identified Oakland’s business as a priority.

Auckland is very important to the New Zealand economy. [it’s] It really is New Zealand’s business hub and our gateway to the world.”

Auckland Chamber of Commerce president Simon Bridges said meeting with businesses on his second day in office was a strong start to Hipkins’ leadership.

“Both sides got as much as they got, very candid, very candid, and that was great.”

He said there are clear issues across Oakland and the rest of the country that need to be addressed.

Workers’ skills, immigration, and the need for education and training were all topics discussed by leaders and the new prime minister.

The lack of eggs, the lack of personnel is hitting businesses hard

Elsewhere in Auckland, businesses continued to feel labor shortages and inflation.

Chef Oscar, of La Noisette Bakery on Karangahape Road, said they needed more than just new staff.

“It’s more than a lack of staff, it’s a need for skilled staff,” he said.

“Inflation would make things much more difficult,” Oscar said.

He added that the lack of eggs, especially in the country, was a shock to everyone.

“We’re only allowed 30 eggs a day, how can a bakery rely on 30 eggs a day?”

Is raising the minimum wage the solution?

As businesses struggle to attract and retain employees, one group is calling for an increase in the minimum wage.

Melissa Ansell Bridges, Secretary of the Council of Trade Unions, said Morning report They want to raise the national minimum wage to $23.65 and bring it in line with the living wage.

This is an increase of 11.6%, which is less in recent history.

But National Finance spokeswoman Nicola Willis advised caution, saying the minimum wage was already high enough and any further increase would push inflation higher.

Eaqub, to speak with checkpointHe said: Every time the increase in the minimum wage was discussed, the question was raised whether this increase would lead to widespread job closures or widespread inflation.

“Both of these things have not happened in the past,” he said.

“Of course the difference now is that the minimum wage is relatively high compared to the average – or typical – wages that we see in New Zealand, so the pressures are building.”

He said he would be “very surprised” if the government decided to go ahead with “inflation or inflation plus minimum wages” in the current economic climate.

“When the economy is not that strong, and I think a lot of the concerns will come this year, we’re going to get business closures or reduced margins.”

He said raising the minimum wage was “always a political decision” and in an election year the government would try to please everyone – including the business sector.

He added that policy changes, such as lowering rates on things like working for families, have a bigger impact on wages for low-income workers than raising the minimum wage.

“Most of these people are on such low incomes or on other benefits … that the increase in wages is offset by the loss of entitlements elsewhere.”

Leave a Comment