WELLINGTON, May 11 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a major package of reforms on Wednesday, including an early opening of the international border and a simplification of immigration settings to address the immediate skill shortages and speed up the economic recovery from COVID-19.
"New Zealand is in demand and now fully open for business," Ardern said in a speech, adding the country's border will reopen to all tourists and visa holders on July 31, two months earlier than planned.
This will be welcome news for families, businesses and migrant communities. It also provides certainty and good preparation time for airlines and cruise ship companies planning a return to New Zealand in the peak spring and summer seasons, Ardern said.
The government has also announced new rebalanced immigration settings which will help businesses access the key skills they need while ensuring wages and working conditions are improved for everyone, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the full reopening is a significant milestone for the international education sector, which can now start to rebuild sustainably, with a big focus on value and attracting genuine students.