Immigration has all the makings of Election 2017 issue.
The change in governments in Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America and possibly other major players in the UN Security Council could have an impact on migration in their respective countries.
There is an outcry in all of them to check migrant inflow.
Immigration is an emotional issue which most ethnic communities would defend as ‘essential.’ Their reasoning is obvious and understandable.
The Ruling National Party and immigration advisors and immigration lawyers are defending a liberal immigration policy. Their reasoning is also obvious, although may not be understandable or even less, acceptable.
A majority of us, including those involved with this newspaper are migrants. The difference is only in the year when migration took place. But all of us went through a robust immigration process- there were no short cuts.
And most of us would prefer a more selective immigration regime.
Times have changed and New Zealand, more importantly, Auckland stands at the precipice of breaking down- in terms of infrastructure, housing and other essential supplies. The government’s policy of directing migrants to other smaller cities does not seem to work. Auckland is indubitably the commercial and industrial hub. Migrants know that most employment and business opportunities exist here.
Is Auckland liveable City? Is it a loveable City? Should we not set aside our emotions and approach migration with a sense of purpose and reality?
These questions were posed at a Panel Session organised by Multicultural New Zealand at its Annual General Meeting held in Auckland last month. The Panel comprised five candidates contesting the Auckland Mayoralty.
The opinions were varied.
Winston Peters warning
The views of New Zealand First Leader and senior parliamentarian always provoke public debate. While his comments would anger Asian communities including Indian, mainstream media would support him.
But not this time since most newspapers, radio and television stations are National supporters.
Mr Peters has called for a review of our immigration policy and slow down the process. He has said that too many people are coming into our country and that a majority of them have questionable educational certificates and job experiences.
“The biggest driver of record immigration has been a mass influx of people coming in, many on work visas, and many low skilled, as Treasury points out. (Prime Minister John) Key refuses to recognise that his open door immigration has put enormous pressure on New Zealand – emergency departments are overloaded, schools are struggling to cope, housing is in crisis, wages are depressed, and migrants are being used as cheap labour,” he said.
But a recent TVNZ Report should make us think and appreciate Mr Peters’ concern.
The Report said that in the last year, almost 10,000 applications filed by Indians in India were rejected by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
“A majority of these applications were from unlicensed agents and advisers, who use false educational qualifications and financial statements to apply for student visas and there are warnings the problem could be more widespread,” TVNZ said.
Massey University Pro-Vice-Chancellor (College of Humanities & Social Sciences) Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley warned that would be an ‘ongoing issue.’
“It is a big industry in India, so I am not surprised at the number that Immigration New Zealand have found. They have a major reputational risk for us as a destination for Indian students; we have to get on top of it because otherwise an important industry in this country is at risk,” he said.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said that the matter is being investigated.
“INZ and Education NZ have gone into that market to make sure that people are very, very clear about the expectations for being a student in New Zealand,” he said.
The number of cases involving rogue employers, immigration and education advisors and employers who defraud gullible public appears to be on the increase but the trend can be reversed with greater vigilance and discretion.
People should come forward without fear and lodge their complaints with the authorities so that appropriate action can be initiated against the offenders.
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