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Immigrants are taking taxpayers for a ride

Katherine Rich MP National Party Social Services Spokeswoman

22 June 2004

Immigrants are taking taxpayers for a ride

More than 10,000 new immigrants have been granted the unemployment or unemployment hardship benefits in the past four years, according to figures released by National Party Social Services spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

She's moving to expand on claims that immigrants on emergency benefits are costing the taxpayer $1.47 million a week and that nearly 5,500 immigrants are on the emergency benefit.

The rules are that migrants have to be in the country for more than two years before they are eligible to collect unemployment or sickness benefits.

"The public expects the Government to follow its own rules, yet the figures released after parliamentary questions show there are thousands of 'exceptions'," says Mrs Rich.

Since 2000, 2652 sickness or sickness hardship benefits have been paid to immigrants who have been in the country for less than two years.

Over the same period some 12,043 immigrants (of less than two years) were granted the unemployment or unemployment hardship benefits.

"New Zealand does not need immigrants who can't, won't or don't work for whatever reason to come into the country and go onto welfare almost immediately.

"Taxpaying New Zealanders should not be expected to pick up the tab for soft Government policies," says Mrs Rich.

Parliamentary Questions Follow

06605 (2004) Published - Social Development & Employment (Associate Minister - Service Delivery) - Corrected Reply

Question: Since January 2000 how many, if any, migrants who have resided in New Zealand for less than two years have received the unemployment benefit and what is the explanation for this? Portfolio: Social Development & Employment (Associate Minister Service Delivery) Minister: Hon Rick Barker Date Lodged:12/05/2004

Answer Text: MSD officials have provided the attached table which shows the number of migrants who have lived in New Zealand for less than two years, and have been granted the unemployment benefit (including unemployment benefit-hardship) since January 2000 to April 2004. There are a number of reasons for these people receiving unemployment benefit. Some clients have been granted benefit under grounds of hardship; some clients come from countries with reciprocal social security agreements with New Zealand. Some clients have been identified as having an incorrect immigration date recorded and have been in New Zealand for more than two years. Work and Income are presently reviewing all clients in receipt of unemployment benefit with less than two years residency since their recorded immigration date. Recent enhancements to the Work and Income IT system have meant that these clients are now more easily identified and monitored.

PQ: 06605
Count of Benefit Benefit
Year Granted-Unemployment Benefit-Unemployment Benefit Hardship -Total
2000 1389 2339 3728
2001 1052 2083 3135
2002 683 2046 2729
2003 474 1465 1939
2004 118 394 512
Note: Not all of those clients granted are still currently on unemployment benefit.


From: To: katherine.rich@parliament.govt.nz Sent: Monday, June 21, 2004 2:50 PM Subject: 06607 (2004) Published - Social Development & Employment (Associate Minister - Service Delivery) - Corrected Reply

Question: Since January 2000 how many, if any, migrants who have resided in New Zealand for less than two years have received the sickness benefit and what is the explanation for this? Portfolio: Social Development & Employment (Associate Minister – Service Delivery) Minister: Hon Rick Barker Date Lodged:12/05/2004

Answer Text: MSD officials have provided the attached table which shows the number of migrants who have lived in New Zealand for less than two years, and have been granted the sickness benefit (including sickness benefit-hardship)since January 2000 to April 2004. There are a number of reasons for these people receiving sickness benefit. Some clients have been granted benefit under grounds of hardship; some clients come from countries with reciprocal social security agreements with New Zealand. Some clients have been identified as having an incorrect immigration date recorded and have lived in New Zealand for more than two years. Work and Income are presently reviewing all clients in receipt of sickness benefit with less than two years residency since their recorded immigration date. Recent enhancements to the Work and Income IT system have meant that these clients are now more easily identified and monitored.
PQ: 06607
Count of Benefit Benefit

Year Granted/Sickness Benefit/Sickness Benefit Hardship/ Total
2000 267 312 579
2001 244 407 651
2002 179 411 590
2003 158 452 610
2004 65 157 222

Note: Not all of those clients granted are still currently on sickness benefit.

ENDS

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