New Zealand tightens immigration rules in ?Kiwi-first? crackdown

New Zealand said on Wednesday it will tighten access to its skilled work visas, just a day after the United States and neighbouring Australia announced similar restrictions on immigration.

New Zealand?s immigration minister said he was taking a ?Kiwis-first approach to immigration?, echoing Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and U.S. President Donald Trump in announcing policies to ensure jobs for Australians and Americans.

Migration has become a hot topic in the lead up to New Zealand?s Sept. 23 general election.

?These changes are designed to strike the right balance … and encourage employers to take on more Kiwis and invest in the training to upskill them,? immigration minister Michael Woodhouse said in a statement, using the colloquial term for New Zealand citizens.

The changes to be introduced later this year include introducing a minimum income requirement, making it more difficult for family members to join visa holders and limiting the amount of time seasonal workers are allowed to stay in New Zealand.

A boom in new arrivals has helped the New Zealand economy race along with some of the strongest gross domestic product growth in the developed world.