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Immigration pilot scheme, less than welcoming

A Government attempt to make immigrants feel more welcome, could end up making them feel less welcome, National MP Pansy Wong said today.

"Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel claims the fall-off in immigrant numbers - especially from Asia - is because immigrants are getting a cold reception.

"Her spectacularly illogical response is to charge new migrants a new compulsory levy, for a pilot scheme to help them link-up with local businesses.

"Imposing a new levy is a very odd way of providing a warmer welcome," Mrs Wong says.

"The biggest obstacles faced by immigrants are the reservations felt by employers over perceptions of language difficulties and a lack of local experience. That makes it difficult for new arrivals to gain a foothold in the employment market.

"What's really needed is something to change the attitude of employers - making them more willing to take a risk by hiring someone without local qualifications or local experience.

"This Government is making it less and less likely employers will take that risk - by tightening employment laws and running down the economy.

"Ms Dalziel should realise that a country's economic situation plays a big role in how attractive it is to immigrants.

"Is it any wonder people aren't magnetically drawn to New Zealand when business confidence and Government competence are both so low," Pansy Wong said.


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