Archive for August, 2010

Minister’s treatment of migrants shames New Zealand

August 26, 2010

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.

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move2nz is NetGuide finalist 3rd year running

August 10, 2010

Over the past three months New Zealand’s public have been voting for their favourite websites in the 2010 People’s Choice NetGuide Web Awards.

A record-breaking number of votes have been cast this year with an increase of more than a third over 2009. Full results will be announced in the annual awards ceremony on 19th August hosted by Ben Hurley, one of New Zealand’s favourite comedians.

Top three finalists for the 25 categories were announced yesterday, a list dominated by household names such as Telstraclear, Trademe and Google.

Amongst all of the national and multi-national companies however is one website you may not have heard of: move2nz.com.

Launched in 2005 to provide help and support to skilled workers settling in Aotearoa move2nz.com is the brainchild of migrants Mike and Tammy Bell.

“The site is intended to give benefit to New Zealand by helping retain top skilled workers attracted here” said Mike Bell, architect of the site.

Run as a non-profit organisation, move2nz has been helping thousands of newcomers survive the rigours of migration to integrate into New Zealand society, providing both economic and cultural benefit.

You may be even more surprised to learn that this is the third year running that move2nz has been listed as a finalist for the Best Community Website, winning the category in 2008 and 2009 despite serious competition such as Donatenz.com and GrownUps.co.nz. This year Plunket.org.nz has joined the competition making move2nz the underdog.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be recognised again.” said Bell. “It’s been a tough year but the support of our fantastic community and Partners has pulled us through. We never expected to win anything and just to make finalist again is amazing.”

Developed to promote excellence and recognise the hard work and dedication of the online community in New Zealand, the Web Awards is now in its 12th year and has become the most influential and prestigious honour for Internet excellence.

Migration slide update

August 2, 2010

I was pleased to see the Herald publishing my story on July 28th about the declining numbers of migrants, backed up by interviews with other experts.

I have given up sending information to the Immigration Minister as there is never any sensible response. At some point Dr. Coleman will probably tell the media he knew nothing about this short-fall and be appalled.  

The story was picked up by the Listener recently in their editorial Go with the flow and I was saddened to see that they had completely missed the point.

“New Zealand must not drop the standards of its Residence Programme in the short term just to meet its immigration quota or to boost house prices.”

I could not agree more, however this is entirely incorrect.

The reality is that without any change to the processing criteria the number of highly skilled workers being allowed into the Residency programme has been been slashed by 30%.

Standards have not been dropped, they have been unofficially raised to meet unpublished changes to criteria.

Squeezing from the other side, the number of applicants being declined has also increased by around 50 percent over last year, meaning that current selection numbers will fall short of the government’s own miniumum quota by an estimated 5,500 people.

In a time when it has been confirmed that a drop in immigration would be distrous surely forgetting to factor in the number of applications being declined is an unforgivable error which will cost New Zealand business, block economic growth and cut job creation.