22 Aug 2016

UK visa registrations spike following Brexit

9:49 pm on 22 August 2016

The number of British citizens registering for a NZ visa has spiked since the Brexit referendum, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) says.

An INZ spokesperson said there were 10,647 registrations from the United Kingdom in the past 49 days, compared with 4599 over the same period last year.

In a typical month INZ received about 3000 registrations from British nationals interested in studying or working in New Zealand.

On the day before Britain voted to leave the European Union, INZ received 109 registrations, but it got 998 on the day of the Brexit vote result, INZ said.

Massey University sociology professor Paul Spoonley said the spike in numbers could help fill skill shortages in New Zealand, especially in the construction and IT industries.

Mr Spoonley said the government and industries should actively target skilled workers in politically uncertain countries such as Britain and the United States through recruitment and job fairs.

"You could up the numbers coming if there's some ... economic and political uncertainty in the countries themselves.

"That is the sort of strategic decision that we would need to make as a country."

He said it was important to upskill local workers but in the meantime roles could be filled by skilled immigrants.

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