The simple answer is the levels beyond which migration ceases to contribute to raising per capita income of Kiwis.
So outside of humanitarian quota, that should be the first question asked when setting quotas by category. Temporary workers relieve seasonal bottlenecks, alleviate temporary skill shortages, and now, via the visitor working visas apparently are a source of better quality labour in the casual and low paid areas. So all of those are helpful, though we need to accelerate the skill acquisition rate for more of our own youth if we are going to make them resilient to the competition from working foreign students and visitors.
There’s evidence that the path to Permanent Residency is too easy, that we’re not valuing it highly enough. Migrants arrive, get permanent residency after 2 years of residency and then leave with that as a lifeline. So they leave for as long as they like, knowing they can always return. Problem is when they do this in droves, they squeeze our other long-term immigration programmes. Do we really want these casuals?
A new place in Aotearoa New Zealand should only be created for someone who is really going to contribute so we need to develop criteria that ensures this – including requiring a longer time to be served before permanent residence is provided.