20 May 2009

New Zealand work permit holders meet with gov't

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New Zealand work permit holders will be meeting with the government to discuss their concerning situation during the recession, reports the NZ Herald.

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand work permit holders live in New Zealand so that gaps in the skilled workforce can be filled.  However, because of the recession, many of these people are losing their jobs and not finding work fast enough to have their New Zealand work permit renewed, causing them to return to their home country.

The Migrant Act Trust (MAT) says that the removal of New Zealand work permit holders may temporarily ease the rising unemployment conditions, but when the economy starts to recover it would not have the skill or labour support to do so. 

More importantly, those who have migrated to New Zealand through the New Zealand work permit program and spent many years contributing to the New Zealand economy and community would lose their livelihoods and their right to remain in New Zealand – albeit temporarily.  Many were recruited overseas by New Zealand companies and had their families relocated as a result.

During 2007-09, a record 188,000 people had a New Zealand work permit application approved, which means that potentially, hundreds of thousands of skilled workers could be lost if the government does not pass interim policy to deal with the economic conditions.

The MAT has arranged for a meeting with ministers so that they may better understand the gravity of the impending situation.

"Kicking these migrants out is not a solution, because when the economy recovers, we will be needing the skills they have to kick-start New Zealand's economy again," organiser Agnes Granada said.

Manny dela Cruz, an IT worker from the Philippines, said his life savings was invested in emigrating to New Zealand, and just after seven weeks of employment he was made redundant and cannot find work so that his work permit can be renewed.

"I sold everything to raise the money to come here, thinking I would be able to earn enough to make up for it after working here for a couple of years, but never in my wildest nightmare did I think that I'd be jobless even before I could even get my seat warm in New Zealand."

Labour's Chinese MP, Raymond Huo, said he would attend the meeting so that the government can better tackle the issues created by the recession, because people emigrating to New Zealand are a valuable resource to the New Zealand economy, which still has skills needed in the workforce.

The meeting will be at Windy Ridge school in Glenfield, on May 30.


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to New Zealand.


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