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Skilled migration strangled under National

Hon Paul Swain
Minister of Immigration

9 August 2005 Media Statement

Skilled migration strangled under National

National's immigration policy shows a lack of understanding of current policy and would drive skilled migrants to other countries, Immigration Minister Paul Swain said today.

"Don Brash clearly doesn't understand what already happens around deportation. Last year, I signed off around 40 deportation orders for permanent residents who had committed crimes in New Zealand. This system is working and targeting the people who should be deported.

"For National to imply that all skilled migrants could be criminals until they prove otherwise is plain stupid given the low unemployment and skills shortages we have.

"A four-year probation period would mean migrants looking to bring their valuable skills and experience to New Zealand would be treated as if they were criminals and would have no certainty for four years," Mr Swain said.

"Everywhere I go around the country, businesses are crying out for skilled people. National's policy is likely to strangle business growth and drive away the migrants we want.

"By also targeting refugees and their families, Don Brash is trying to out-Winston, Winston. For many years there has been a consensus across all governments to provide a fresh start for refugees who have been in appalling circumstances such as war and famine. Attacking refugees for political points is a cheap trick," Mr Swain said.

"The government is achieving the balance between attracting the skilled migrants we need, meeting our humanitarian obligations and protecting our borders. Under National this would be jeopardised."

ENDS

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