Why Not Regulate
"Patriotic Squad" Plan to Monitor Migration
We are moving toward a global economy. One way of approaching that is to pull the covers over your head.
- Phil Condit
by Vernon Small
NZ First leader Winston Peters has broadened his attack on immigration with a call for a "flying squad" staffed by patriotic New Zealanders. It would oversee the Immigration Service, double-check its decisions and seek out potential risks among immigrants. Mr Peters said the inspectorate, a key plank of his party's immigration and population policy, would be staffed only by New Zealand citizens, and would not employ anyone currently in the service. It would make random double-checks of immigration decisions and scan all visa applications going back 6 years. "We will be looking for intelligence, investigative skills, determination and, yes, patriotism."
Green MP Keith Locke dubbed the squad an "anti-immigrant Gestapo - there are echoes of Hitler's Germany in the new flying squad searching the homes of 'undesirables' to be imprisoned or ejected from the country."
Mr Peters said New Zealand needed a comprehensive population policy which established long-term labour market demands. "We don't want some miscellaneous ragtag bunch that will end up with many on welfare or driving a taxi." He said Statistic NZ projections showed that, on present immigration levels, the number of Asians in New Zealand would increase 145% from 270,000 in 2001 to 670,000 by 2021. "In 2005 we struggle to know what a New Zealander really is because over the past 14 years National and Labour have flooded the country with immigrants." Bringing in 19,000 Asian migrants a year while 18,000 New Zealanders went to Australia was "part of Labour's ethnic engineering and re-population policy".
NZ First would also create an "undesirables" category to ensure those from "dangerous and unethical regimes are red-flagged before they get here". Those with terrorism-related convictions would not be considered as refugees. The Refugee Status Appeals Authority would be made more directly responsible to Parliament. The family reunification category would be tightened to apply only to refugees' spouses and immediate dependent siblings. The party would also regulate immigration consultants.
In an attempt to head off Mr Peters' policy launch, the Government announced on Tuesday a review of the Immigration Act. Immigration Minister Paul Swain said yesterday that Mr Peters had "once again gone off the deep end with his latest rantings" about immigration. "In contrast, the Government's policies are a balance between attracting the migrants, tourists and students we need, with the importance of protecting our borders from people we do not want."
The Government had already moved to decide all applications from highest-risk countries within New Zealand.
Source: stuff.co.nz 28 May 2005
Mentors Would Help
Immigration Policy Needs Clarity - Study
by Fran Tyler
Forget brain drain, New Zealand's population problems would improve if the Government made its immigration policy easier to follow and provided better support for immigrants, the author of a Massey University study says. Associate professor Andrew Trlin, one of the authors of The Immigration Industry in New Zealand: A survey of Industry Characteristics, Services, Practices and Contemporary Issues said New Zealand's immigration policy was difficult to work with and inconsistent.
Once immigrants were in New Zealand there was no support for them and many either packed up and went home, or stayed for 3 years, got citizenship and moved on to Australia. "We've got to take much more interest in immigrants when they get off the plane in Christchurch or Wellington," he said. There was a booklet given to new immigrants and it was very useful, but some people missed out on it, and it did not go far enough. New immigrants should be given help to find employment and mentoring programmes should be set up for those going into business.
It was not good enough to say "you've got your information pack, you're on your way mate."
Statistics New Zealand figures showed that 70,076 people left New Zealand permanently or long term in the year to March 2000 of which 15,619 or 22.3% were not New Zealand nationals. In the prior year, 24% of people who left were not New Zealand nationals. The statistics also showed a big drop in the number of migrants coming in to New Zealand. In the year ending March 1996, there were 56,883 foreigners who entered New Zealand on a long-term or permanent basis. That number steadily dropped to 38,506 by the year ending March 2000.
The survey found 83% of immigration consultant companies said they had experienced difficulties dealing with New Zealand's immigration policy in the past 10 years. The main problem consultants found was in the interpretation of policy changes and the length of time it took for them to be implemented.
When changes were made to policy, consultants usually heard about it first in the media then they would have to wait a week or two before they got details. Consultants also found that some immigration staff interpreted policy differently to other staff. In some cases an application for immigration could be made and declined then re-lodged and approved.
Mr Trlin said more than 70% of those surveyed favoured industry regulation and registration.
Source: The Dominion Wednesday 11 October 2000
Consistency Could Reduce Stress
Hers is not a lone voice, but pride, embarrassment and caution tend to muffle the many stories of struggle and self-sacrifice.
Don't Ignore the Rights of Immigrants
by Penny Lee
As an Asian immigrant I would like to ask some questions about New Zealand attitudes towards us, as this is the root of our problems here.
As a New Zealander, do you think that immigrants take jobs from local people? Or by accepting social welfare benefits, that we become a burden on the country? Or perhaps you think that immigrants are not needed here?
As a recent immigrant I would like to know why we weren't advised about certain aspects of living in New Zealand before we arrived. Lack of appropriate information has created problems for us.
Some New Zealanders say that jobs are scarce and the more jobs taken by immigrants, the fewer there will be for those already here. But according to statistics, between 1992 and 1996, net immigration increased almost tenfold and the unemployment rate dropped from 11.1% to 6.5%. Therefore, it can be said that immigrants create a demand for goods and services, and this translates into a demand for labour.
According to the points system immigration policy in 1991, immigrants must prove that they can make a real contribution to New Zealand. Almost two-thirds of immigrants have university qualifications gained overseas. Despite being well qualified, we are underemployed or, worse still, unemployed. From a New Zealand point of view, this represents a tremendous waste of human resources.
Only a minority of immigrants become welfare beneficiaries. Many Asian immigrants who arrived between 1986 and 1996 are living on their overseas funds and interest, and their annual incomes have dropped on average by about $20,000 since arriving. Immigrants have brought far more than $200 million dollars into this country in the past 5 years. New Zealanders cannot expect to have immigrants' money but not their presence.
We come here with money and highly qualified. We are surely not a burden on this society. On the contrary, we make a significant contribution to economic development. When I brought my children to New Zealand in 1996 I had no friends or relatives here. I got very little useful information from the government. At that time I did not know that there were organisations which could help me. I had a tough time during the first year.
In view of this I would recommend that, on arrival, all new immigrants be presented with an up-to-date handbook detailing names and contact numbers of all support agencies in the local community. A translation of the information into the appropriate language would be a tremendous help.
Secondly, the immigration policy should not be changed so often and without prior warning. Sometimes the policy has been changed as if the government was announcing a petrol price increase within 24 hours. It is unfair to ignore the rights of immigrants.
To migrate to a new country is a long-term plan for the whole family. We are prepared to make changes on finances and careers but the lack of a long-term immigration policy can cause unexpected problems. I know that New Zealand has the quality of life that attracts immigrants. Therefore, I suggest that the government has a long-term, well thought out and consistent immigration policy to make our life here less stressful.
I couldn't agree more. We supposedly had a mentor when we immigrated - but he did more harm than good. He knew nothing about our careers (networks and information technology) and provided us with nothing useful. He introduced us to "consultants" of zero value who sent us hefty invoices for the "meetings" at which it was determined they had nothing to offer. Further, it was implied that any complaints we lodged against this practice could count against us in achieving residency status (we learned: "Don't rock the boat!"). Is New Zealand unique in that regard? Certainly not. Generally, immigrants are easy targets the world over. Most native citizens when they look at an immigrant, resent his presence, and have no idea of the hardships he went through to get where he is. This is only one of many trials.
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