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Inquiry into Government Immigration Policy


Inquiry into Government Immigration Policy

ACT leader Richard Prebble has written to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee seeking a parliamentary inquiry into the government's recent imposition of a university level English language test on new immigrants and those on temporary business visas.

Mr Prebble has said parliament has a duty to act.

"The criteria the government uses to select migrants is a matter for which parliament should hold the executive to account. It is also a matter of great public interest.

"The most appropriate way is to hold a select committee inquiry with wide enough terms of reference to be able to use evidence from the public and the government.

"The Auckland Chamber of Commerce has stated that the immigrations changes will cost New Zealand well over $2 billion in the next year.

"There is also concern that the high level English test is discriminatory - immigrants from English speaking countries don't have to sit it.

"The level of the test is so high that half of the New Zealand born population would not pass with the required number of points needed for immigration.

"I believe that New Zealanders, both those who were born here and those who migrated to make this country their home, are entitled to expect that parliament will investigate and report on this issue, " said Mr Prebble.

ENDS

Richard Prebble CBE richard.prebble@parliament.govt.nz (mailto:richard.prebble@parliament.govt.nz) Phone: 04 470 6638 / 027 475 3128 Fax: 04 473 3532 Sue Ryan, Press Secretary sue.ryan@parliament.govt.nz (mailto:sue.ryan@parliament.govt.nz) Phone: 04 470 6643 / 027 279 24 37

27 November 2002

Helen Duncan MP Chairperson The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee Parliament

Dear Helen Duncan

Re: Inquiry into Government Immigration Policy

I write to seek a parliamentary inquiry into the Government's recent imposition of a university level English language test on immigrants applying under the points system, the imposition of an English test on those on temporary business visas and the raising and then the lowering of the number of points needed to migrate.

The criteria the Government adopts to select migrants is a matter parliament should hold the executive to account. The number of immigrants is also a matter of public interest.

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce has stated that the recent changes will have a $2.5 billion negative economic impact.

There is also the concern that the test is racist in that immigrants from English speaking countries do not have to sit the test.

The level of the test is so high that half of the New Zealand born adult population would fail it.

The Committee should examine the Government reasons and evidence for these changes.

Parliament has a duty to act. The most appropriate way is to hold a Select Committee inquiry, with wide enough terms of reference to be able to use evidence from the public and the Government.

New Zealanders, both those who were born here and those who migrated to make this country their home, are entitled to expect that Parliament will investigate and report on the immigration issue.

I would like to appear in support of my letter.

Yours sincerely

Hon Richard Prebble CBE LEADER, ACT NEW ZEALAND

Enclosed: Proposed Terms of Reference for Select Committee Inquiry. Proposed Terms of Reference

Inquiry into Immigration Policy

That the Select Committee holds an inquiry into Government immigration policy: * In particular to inquire into the reasons for the English language tests on migrants and the recent changes in these tests. * To examine what the impact will be on immigration from the changes in the tests. * To determine whether the tests and the changes are justified * To further inquire into any other matters related to the criteria for migrating to New Zealand..

That the Committee Chair be authorised to make a press statement and the Committee Clark instructed to advertise for submissions and the Minister of Immigration be written to asking the Minister to appear to give evidence.

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