12 February 2013

Calls for Kiwi-Australia immigration deal to be reviewed

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A renowned university professor has called for the arrangement between New Zealand and Australia to allows its citizens to live and work in each others' countries without the need for visas to be reviewed, claiming it can lead to 'back door' immigration.

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Australia and New Zealand have an exceptionally close relationship but Dr Birrell says that could be being exploited.

Most official Australian immigration figures currently rank China and India, with the UK just behind, as the top countries of migrants to Australia but Kiwis actually easily surpass all.

With 17,580 immigrants in 2012, China was ranked the top source of Australian immigration, with Indian-born migrants (14,280) and the UK (14,800) just behind. However, over 30,000 people born in New Zealand moved to Australia during the same period.

Dr Bob Birrell of Monash University in Melbourne says the number of Kiwis moving to Australia is not the issue, the problem with the current arrangement, which allows citizens of either to cross the Tasman Sea without the need for visas, leaves potential for those who have been refused an Australian visa can move to New Zealand instead, gain citizenship there and then move to Australia.

Dr Birrell released a report this week warning about the effect immigration could be having on wage rates in Australia at the same time as calling for a review in the Australia's agreement with New Zealand.

"People not born in NZ account for about a quarter of the NZ citizen flow to Australia," said Dr Birrell.

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