1,000 signatures reached
To: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Minister of Immigration Michael Wood
Amnesty for Overstayers
We are asking the Prime Minister to grant amnesty to all overstayers regardless of their country of origin because everyone deserves to lead a life with respect and dignity.
Why is this important?
Estimates are that Aotearoa has approximately 14,000 people without any visas or legal status. These are migrants, their whānau and tamariki who have been living in fear during some of the worst challenges we have faced as a country. They are victims of our regressive immigration policies, not criminals.
Overstayers deserve to lead a life with dignity and respect. They deserve to be safe and deserve to be helped, especially during hard times like the Northland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.
With the current system, overstayers have hesitated to seek medical help such as covid tests and covid vaccination, for the fear of being reported to authorities and subsequently being deported. And now many of them are flood victims afraid of seeking assistance provided by the government. This is potentially a dangerous and unsafe health situation, not just for the victims but for the entire communities surrounding them.
Many of our overstayers are children of parents who do not have lawful status. It is harsh and unfair to punish the children by depriving them of access to needed services such as health care providers, education and safety services.
Researchers at UNITEC published an excellent report highlighting the plight of overstayers and their families – the stresses are multi-fold and affect their mental well-being. The solution proposed by researchers is also policy change and legal status for the overstayers. Link to the full report: https://www.unitec.ac.nz/sites/default/files/public/documents/Tuvalu%20project%20report%20-FINAL-13.12.2021.pdf
An amnesty for all overstayers regardless of their country of origin is the need of the time.While we appreciate that the Prime Minister is going to look at the petition regarding Pacific overstayers, he needs to be inclusive and act sooner than later. We ask the Prime Minister to give overstayers work rights and their children access to public education, allowing them to lead a life of dignity.