‘On the edge’: Are New Zealand’s tough immigration rules harming the economy? | New Zealand
In February 2020, Craig Hurn, 53, temporarily left his wife and daughter in Cape Town to scope out the job market in New Zealand. After beating six other candidates for one job, he secured an essential skills visa and began preparing to move his family over.
“We saw Craig’s CV and we thought, ‘Oh my God, he can walk into the job,’” says his employer, who struggled to find any workers with the highly specialised qualifications to fill the position.
But reuniting the family was another matter. Over the course of ten rejections for border exemption, the family, who had sold everything and moved into a rental, endured months of anguished waiting. “We end up crying together on the telephone,” says Hurn.
Then, in April, the government announced it would start letting the families of highly skilled and high-earning workers, one of three new categories eligible for exemption from the border closure, into the country. Hurn seemed…