Posts Tagged ‘election’

Cutting immigration – NZ First

July 19, 2014

Today on current affairs programme ‘The Nation’ Winston Peters, leader of the New Zealand First (NZF) political party confirmed:

“We’ll cut immigration to people we need in our economy, not who need us.”

He went on to state:

“Half the people coming and more are not here to make any contribution until 21 years or more or never to make a contribution. That’s bad economics.”

So here we have another political party going into the 2014 election trumpeting that immigration is economically bad for New Zealand and needs to be cut.

New Zealand First policy
To find what Mr Peters meant I checked the NZF website and found recent confirmation that he intends to block migrants who are not in the skilled category.

As I confirmed in May on average just under 40,000 people come to live in New Zealand permanently every year. These are made up of four main streams – using 2012/13 figures roughly these are:

  1. 51% – skilled workers, entrepreneurs and investors
  2. 29% – the foreign-born children and partners of New Zealand citizens and residents
  3. 11% – the parents and family of migrants
  4. 8% – humanitarian and pacific quotas

This policy then appears to plan to cut groups 2, 3 and 4 including parents of migrants, the foreign-born partners and children of New Zealanders and NZ’s humanitarian work.

The NZF immigration policy is basically a list of current immigration policy (for example the parent category is called the ‘capped family stream’ because it is capped with a quota already) with additional measures to:

  • protect migrants against exploitation;
  • push skilled workers into regions and out of Auckland;
  • remove the ability for some migrants (not skilled workers) to purchase pre-paid English lessons to meet requirements.

Forcing skilled workers needed by employers to live in remote areas where there are no jobs is an interesting idea that I don’t think will catch on – yes you can work remotely as an IT professional but it is a bit harder for engineers etc. The others points listed are tiny tweaks with the vast majority of what NZF stands for already being current immigration policy.

Cutting immigration
Mr Peters has spoken out previously against the parents of migrants in the “Capped family stream”. These (not including other family) make up 9.5% of residence numbers with Chinese parents (the group Mr Peters is most concerned about) being (last year) 43.8% of this. Parents of people born in China make up just over 4% of residents.

The “Uncapped family stream” Mr Peters appears to have most problem with (29% of residence visas) are the foreign-born partners and children of New Zealanders. I am not sure blocking this group from coming to NZ is something which would be supported by most Kiwis.

Government has been working to bring skilled New Zealanders working overseas home but forcing them to leave their partners and children behind may make many think twice about heading back to Aotearoa.

Economic benefit
Mr Peter’s comments also ignore government research from the 2006 census which confirmed in 2008:

“…overseas-born migrants contributed $8.1 billion to the economy in 2006, while using $4.81 billion in benefits and services. In comparison, New Zealand-born citizens contributed $24.76 billion and used $21.92 billion in benefits and services.

The net impact for having an immigrant here is $3.29 billion, or $3547 per capita, while the net per capita contribution of a New Zealand-born is just $915,..”

This related to all migrants, not just skilled workers. Healthy and law-abiding migrants trained overseas are economically beneficial to New Zealand, but often because they are supported by their partners. Their children are also needed as future workers to support an aging population if the concepts of “retirement” and “pension”  are to continue in this country.

Summary
I’m not sure New Zealand First’s policy will win the hearts and minds of New Zealanders by blocking their husbands, wives and children from entering the country – they might want to think this through.


 

Mike Bell

Migrant advocate | Licensed Immigration Adviser

Please fix New Zealand’s broken immigration system

November 4, 2011

Recently Tammy put together a comparison between the different political parties immigration policies on move2nz.com for migrants in the run-up to New Zealand’s general election on the 26th November.

Many migrants can vote and need to know the difference between the parties to decide how.

National has not yet released their immigration policy but we have a fair idea of what it is from the last three years: cuts to skilled immigration, a move away from permanent residency to temporary visas and an emphasis on who can bring in cash rather than  skills.

Today I saw a piece on Labour’s recently released immigration policies (including an Immigration Ombudsman which would mean people like Charmain Timmons won’t continue to suffer as they are.

Forget politics, lets look at results and the results over the past three years have been appalling for both New Zealand and migrants interesting in coming here. I wrote a comment on the article and include it here:

Properly managed migration only brings in skills we can’t find in NZ.

It boosts our ageing population, adds $1.9 billion in direct income (plus $5.1b in indirect income) every year, helps NZ business grow and creates tens of thousands of jobs for kiwis.

Unfortunately since 2009 a reasonably effective immigration system has been quietly turned into a broken and twisted wreck. Massive new bureaucracy, delays, errors plus the loss of any transparency has seen New Zealand lose some of the best and brightest applicants to Australia and Canada.

The core of effective skilled migration is knowing where the skill shortages are. The govt is using the WINZ database rather than collecting this information and it is a false economy leaving many businesses unable to hire perfect applicants they need with the knock on effect of losing NZ employees their jobs.

The decision to slash numbers of the most highly skilled workers allowed into the country from Jan 2010 by 30% has so far lost New Zealand over $750 million – cash which would be fairly handy right now – a figure expected to rise to $1.8 billion by next year.

Minister Coleman’s choice has created huge skill shortages in certain areas such as medical, engineering and I.T. which cannot be filled by short-term training. Changes were made as recently as July to block skilled trades workers and allow in more PhDs.

NZ had a good system before the current Minister broke it. Can we have it back please?

Simply repairing this damage would help NZ businesses get the staff they need, create thousands of jobs for kiwis and bring hundreds of millions of income back into the country.

Continuing as we are sends the benefit NZ was getting to Australia.

Mike
site architect, move2nz.com

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame immigration staff who have no choice but to apply the policy they are given. I’d just like the politicians keep the good, only throw out the bad and come up with new ideas to improve the benefit New Zealand gets from immigration as well the as the experience migrants have. Is that too much to ask?

Mike