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Brash announces immigration policy

9 August 2005

Brash announces immigration policy

National Party Leader Don Brash says immigrants will be put on probation for four years under a National Government and will have to meet good-conduct requirements to gain permanent residency.

Announcing National's immigration policy at a public meeting in Wanganui today, he said it will also be harder for immigrants to qualify for welfare benefits.

"Current immigration policies, instead of adding diversity, skills and energy to our society, have become a process that is threatening to change the very nature of our society.

"New Zealand needs an inflow of immigrants if we are to avoid an actual decline in our total population, but Labour's current policy is not right.

"There is resentment that too many immigrants, and especially those who arrive as refugees, go straight onto a benefit and live for years at the expense of the hard-working New Zealand taxpayer.

"There is also resentment that, when we let in one refugee, we then let in his extended family group as well.

"National's immigration policy offers a disciplined approach. Labour's approach is too lax, whilst on the other hand New Zealand First too often appeals to crude prejudice. National's policy is a responsible middle ground of 'managed immigration'.

"And while there is a widespread view that, under Labour, the Immigration Service has allowed into the country too many people who have no respect for New Zealand values, there is also anger at how difficult Labour's bureaucracy makes it for people who at least appear to be exactly the kind of immigrants we want to encourage.

"National will change all that."

The main points of National's policy are:

* A focus on skilled immigrants and giving greater recognition to those with proven work experience.

* Immigrants will have to satisfy a good conduct requirement for four years before they can qualify for permanent residence. Those who break the criminal law will be sent home immediately.

* Immigrants will not be able to qualify for welfare benefits for four years.

* People sponsoring family to come to New Zealand will have to prove they can support them for the four-year benefit stand-down period.

* The refugee quotas will be cut to the United Nations approved quota of 750, and savings will be reallocated to help refugees improve their English.

* Investor Category immigrants will have to invest their money for a minimum of four years.

* Business immigrants will have to create at least two permanent full-time jobs for non-family members.

* The Immigration Service and the Citizenship Office will be merged.


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