17 June 2009

Redundant New Zealand work permit holders seek extensions

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A group supporting New Zealand work permit holders are lobbying to have their right to remain in New Zealand extended if they have lost their job during the recession.

If a New Zealand work permit holder loses their job, they have a limited time to find a new job before they must leave the country.  Migrante, a group that works towards the rights of New Zealand migrants, believes that during the global recession New Zealand work permit holders should have an extended grace period in which to find more work, from three to six months. 

"We believe that granting this appeal will not only alleviate considerable hardship for the individuals involved, but will also be the appropriate move to protect the rights of migrant workers who significantly contribute to the needs of the New Zealand economy," said Dennis Maga, national coordinator of Migrante, in a letter to the Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Migrante has pointed out that some employers are holding onto their New Zealand work permit holders for two-three months after their planned redundancy date, so that they have time to seek other employment before facing deportation

"Many migrants and their families have lost their residency applications and are in deep trouble. They have sold their homes and assets in their country of origin to move to New Zealand and have nothing to return to," the petition said.

Last week, 44 occupations were removed from the skills shortage list after a scheduled biannual review into the labour market from the New Zealand immigration department, which the Global Nation says will impact badly on New Zealand work permit holders and their chance to remain in New Zealand during the financial slowdown.

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