24 March 2009

NZ work permit holders centre of employment debate

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Immigration New Zealand is investigating claims that a New Plymouth factory laid off local workers before making New Zealand visa holders redundant, causing the Prime Minister John Key to reassure the public that the New Zealand immigration program is not undermining the employment opportunities of New Zealanders.

Under immigration regulations, migrant workers on a New Zealand work permit cannot work in a position if a local worker has the skills and is available to fill that position. 

Workers at the MCK Metals factory in New Plymouth are complaining that they were made redundant while migrant workers were kept on to fulfil their duties. 

According to Stuff.co.nz, Phil Goff, Labour leader, said situations like this in the New Plymouth factory go against Government policy, and that New Zealanders should always be first in line before migrants.

"Preference must always be given to the permanent resident or citizen. . .the temporary work visa is actually about where you cannot find a New Zealander to do the job," Mr Goff said.

"Patently that is not the case in this instance."

On the 16th March, the Australian government announced it would downsize its skilled migration program so that people emigrating to Australia would not affect the rising unemployment levels during the global crisis.

In response to this, Key confirmed that the New Zealand Government would not be cutting back the New Zealand skilled migration program at this point of time because the growth of the economy is relying on skilled migrants plugging gaps in the New Zealand workforce.


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