On the weekend I spoke at the annual Diversity Forum’s Shout Out 2 (organised by the Human Rights Commission and hosted by Migrante Aotearoa) on the increased vulnerability of skilled workers in New Zealand.
My speech pointed out that Permanent Residents (as confirmed by the Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman) are vital to every New Zealander’s per capita income as they bring billions of dollars into the NZ economy every year. Income which goes straight into local businesses creating prosperity and jobs.
Strangely in this time of recession however the NZ government have decided to cut migration by a third and concentrate instead on a tiny number of big investors who would pay money straight to them instead. The fact that this would cut income for NZ by nearly a billion dollars a year does not seem to matter.
I went on to explain how the path most migrants take was created by legislation introduced in 2005, forcing upwards of 85 percent of Permanent Residents to commit everything to their migration (quitting their job, selling their home etc.) to walk an uncertain path of vulnerability through temporary work visas while their Residency is processed over the course of months or sometimes years.
This I explained was the main reason for the vulnerability of migrants interested in adding value to New Zealand.
However that vulnerability has been massively increased not by the recession (as good management would easily avoid that issue) by due to unofficial changes introduced by the Immigration Minister.
Migrants made more vulnerable
Migrants are now more vulnerable for longer as they are subjected to an unfair and unpredicatable system.
I’ll post my speech on this site soon when I get a moment, but wanted to mention a perfect example which highlights my point.
A family in Queenstown have been in NZ since 2007 working and preparing for applying for Residency. While taking the medical for their Residency application they discovered that Barbara was pregnant.
A shocking decision
The immigration department’s response was to immediately put a block on their Residency application and stand down their temporary work permits. Pregnancy you see is considered an illness.
The immigration department have created a situation where unless this family kill their unborn child they will lose everything they have worked for an be deported.
As extra pressure this couple are blocked from working in thier jobs and they are not eligible for any form of benefits. They have a 4 year old and will eventually run out of savings and end up out on the streets.
Did I mention it’s usually below zero centigrade in Queenstown overnight?
The most recent article in the Southland Times confirms that the family’s electricity will soon be cut off.
This brave family refuse to terminate their child.
A cruel system
Despite playing by the rules and committing everything to their migration this family will be blocked and kicked out.
This callous and quite simply stupid treatment is a hallmark of Jonathan Coleman and shows just how vulnerable migrants now are in New Zealand.
Is this a good choice for the employer/business who needs a Stone Mason?
Is it a good choice for New Zealand?
New Zealand people with their strong sense of community are not like this and the Minister’s position I believe shames this proud country.