The Labour Party wants the government to stop issuing work visas to people taking jobs that aren't on immigration skilled shortage lists, saying those people are taking jobs away from New Zealanders.
In Parliament, Labour Party immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway asked the Minister of Immigration, Michael Woodhouse, how many of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations on the "essential skills in demand" list.
Mr Woodhouse said his best advice was that between 15,000 and 16,000, or 8 percent of work visas, were on immigration skills shortage lists.
"It's important to bear in mind that a visa can be issued under, in, the essential skills category even though occupations are not on those lists.
"But the employer would first need to demonstrate that there isn't a New Zealander available to do the job. I reassure the member that that is an onerous test," Mr Woodhouse said.