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No big migration change coming: Minister

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/09/2016

The immigration minister says an upcoming review of immigration numbers is unlikely to bring major changes.

Net migration figures have soared to record highs in recent months, with a gain of about 69,000 people in the year to July - compared to an average of about 21,800 a year over the last decade.

The Labour Party says there's a mismatch between the skills of migrant workers and what's actually needed, and it's causing wages to stay low in some industries.

But Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told TV One's Q+A the numbers reflected a large number of Kiwis coming home.

"But those that are coming in from overseas a overwhelmingly temporary ... and they will go home again," he said.

He said the current government planning range of about 45,000 and 50,000 new migrants a year would be reviewed in the next month or so.

"I don't think it will change materially, and the reasons for that are to do with who is coming and gaining residence," he said.

Mr Woodhouse said while he was aware there was a risk wages could be suppressed by migrant workers, but had not seen any evidence of it occurring.

The Reserve Bank and Treasury have both expressed concern that increasing migration could be keeping wage growth down.

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