1,000 signatures reached
To: The Immigration Minister, The Prime Minister,The Parliament
Make Migration to NZ more Humane
Dear Minister of Immigration
We would like to bring to your attention the suffering and stress endured by citizens, permanent residents and temporary migrants in New Zealand because of changes to immigration instructions and the way Immigration New Zealand conducts itself.
Many families have been separated for years due to never ending visa processing delays and mounting application backlogs.
International students are left to hang and dry due to College closures. These students have been sold a pipe dream by offshore unscrupulous education agents.
Exploitation of migrant workers is an ever increasing evil because the work visas are attached to the employers making it near impossible for the workers to change jobs.
The new temporary work visa announced this year may not go far enough to stop exploitation as it will also be attached to the employerlike previous visa categories.
Migrants who have been in New Zealand on temporary work visas for years and years have suddenly been left without a pathway to residence despite making significant contribution to New Zealand economy.
It was good to hear that the Parent Visa Category has been reopened but the income thresholds ($106,080 to $212,160) are well out of reach for all working class and most high skilled migrants.
We request you to make the following changes:
1) visa processing delays for partnership based visas should be minimised urgently
2) offshore education agents should be regulated
3) code for pastoral care of international students should be reviewed to include assistance measures specifically for situations arising from college closures
4) bonded labour should be stopped by detaching work visas from employers
5) individuals on work visas already in New Zealand for 5 or more years should be given a one off work to residence pathway
6) the income requirements for sponsors under the Parent Visa Category should be removed
We request you to bring about these changes to benefit the many and not just the few.
Why is this important?
Families of New Zealand citizens and residents have been separated and kept apart due to unnecessary visa processing delays by INZ. Children are losing out on the much needed nurture provided by both parents.
In the last few years, approximately 70,000 international students have been coming to New Zealand every year to gain world class education, making education our 4th largest export at approximately 4 to 5 billion dollars per year. The students are given work rights so that they can gain much sought after work experience and ultimately become part of New Zealand workforce after graduating. This also puts them on a pathway to residence as promoted by NZ government websites and dodgy education agents. However, the reality is different - the students are forced to re-enrol for the same courses repeatedly due to College closures conducted by NZQA. To add to an already stressful situation, the students are left to extend their visas urgently to avoid becoming unlawful in New Zealand. Many have been deported due to the fault of unregulated education agents.
Research studies conducted by Dr Christina Stringer (University of Auckland) and Dr Francis Collins (University of Waikato) clearly conclude that migrant exploitation is rampant when temporary work visas are attached to employers, preventing the employee seeking help or whistleblowing to end their own exploitation.
The number of new residents settling in New Zealand has reached the lowest level since the turn of the century. At the same time a record number of temporary work visa holders have been approved, topping more than 240,000 in the last year. What does that mean? Uncertainty and displacement surrounds migrants on temporary visas. Many in this category have been in New Zealand for 5 to 10 years in the hope of a more permanent future here. Every time they are close to realising that hope, the immigration instructions are changed to bring them right back to where they started.
The National Government closed the parent visa category in 2016 claiming that it was a temporary measure to bring the migrant numbers under control. The Labour coalition government has announced that the Parent Visa Category will reopen in February 2020. However, the income requirements for the sponsors are outrageously high (2 to 4 times annual median salary of $53,040) and out of reach for most, if not all, working class migrants. Under this visa category, only the rich have the luxury of being near their loved ones. Some high skilled migrants earn just enough to sponsor either Mum or Dad - how does one even contemplate such a choice!!