Migrant group calls for amnesty

A migrant advocacy group says it will ask Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman to grant amnesty to migrant workers who have lost their jobs, and to give them more time to look for another job.

Agnes Granada, spokeswoman for the Migrant Action Trust, says a paper requesting changes to policy will be presented to the minister this week.

«It is now getting harder for people to find work, and I think for a policy to work, it needs to reflect the reality of the situation,» said Ms Granada.

A meeting with redundant migrant workers in Glenfield was attended by nearly 200, including National MP Jackie Blue, who is the chairwoman of the caucus committee for immigration and labour.

Another group, Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand, also launched a petition asking the Government to extend redundant migrants' work permits for three months.

«This will give them a fair chance to look for another job and apply for a new work permit,» said Dennis Maga, the group's national co-ordinator. «Migrant workers served the needs of the New Zealand economy to meet the job shortage. Local workers must be protected, but we are also seeking protection for workers recruited overseas now made redundant.»

The Department of Labour said 38,349 work permits were issued in 2007-08 within the labour tested category, which these skilled migrant workers come under. The department said an earlier figure of 188,000 reported in the Herald was incorrect as that included all permits including holiday visas and people who were partners of New Zealanders.

To employ the workers, employers are required to show that no New Zealanders are available for the job.

Head of Immigration Andrew Annakin says there are more New Zealanders seeking employment as a result of the global recession and current immigration policy ensures their needs come before migrant workers in the job hunt.

«Immigration work policy has always been based upon ensuring that New Zealanders have first opportunity to take up work vacancies.

»Generally work permits will be declined if there are suitable New Zealanders available to fill the vacancy on offer."

But Mr Annakin says immigration also plays a vital role in securing New Zealand's economic prosperity in supplying critical skills for the workforce.

«Immigration policy is a delicate balancing act. Even now, with the slowing of the economy, we have skills and labour shortages, and we need those gaps filled to keep our economy going and place us in a competitive position for when the global economy improves.»
  • +1
  • 01 июня 2009, 06:42
  • mamont

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