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Law change opens path to corruption discrimination

Law change opens path to corruption and discrimination

An immigration bill before the House will open the Immigration Service to claims of corruption and discrimination, Green MP Metiria Turei said today.

While the Green Party will back the Immigration Amendment Bill No 1 to select committee, the party will make its concerns known in the committee.

"This bill changes the General Skills category by introducing an 'invitation to apply' in place of the demand-driven right of entry, in an attempt to match immigrants with skills shortages," Mrs Turei said.

"The invitation approach can lead to corruption and discrimination, which is not a path we want to go down. There are insufficient guidelines to prevent abuse of process. Under the new bill, the Immigration Service will have a total discretion to shoulder-tap whoever they want to apply.

"We are also concerned there is no right of appeal for applicants and no transparency in the criteria - with the criteria to be determined by the Immigration Service.

"Where the process has an element of individual selection, that process must be highly accountable. The New Zealand public needs to be able to hold the NZ Immigration Service to account, and that is missing," Mrs Turei said.

"However, the party agrees with prioritising and identifying skill shortages."

Meanwhile, the Greens oppose Immigration Amendment Bill No 2, which stipulates that the majority of the backlog of applicants will have their applications returned and those who want to will have to reapply.

"We do not approve of legislation that strips away the rights of people to a just process. We accept that there is a huge backlog, but those applicants should not be punished for the inability of the Immigration Service to process them in a timely manner," Mrs Turei said.

"Their applications should be dealt with in accordance with the rules in place when they applied."


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