09 July 2008

National Party considers Immigration Department split

The National Party in New Zealand is debating whether to make the country's Immigration Department separate from the Labour Department. An Immigration spokesman has said the National Party will consider detaching the Immigration Service if it gets into Government, in light of the recent debacle surrounding the previous head of the Immigration Department, reports the National Business Review.

According to Labour Minister Trevor Mallard, the former head of the Immigration Department, Mary Anne Thompson, was appointed to her position through a recruitment company. She subsequently quit her position before allegations about the validity of her qualifications were made public, according to the publication.

Lockwood Smith, the National Party's Immigration spokesman, said this has made the party consider a separation of the departments. "I think it points out the need for the head of Immigration New Zealand to actually be at chief executive level," he added.

A recent report concluded New Zealand immigration is crucial to the economy, with members at a conference being told if the number of New Zealand immigrants dropped the country could be headed for disaster.

New Zealand needs skilled migrants: Anyone applying for a New Zealand visa should begin by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements.

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