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National will scrutinise immigration changes

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader

05 April 2006

National will scrutinise immigration changes

National Leader Don Brash says that after six long years he’s pleased that Labour is waking up to immigration as an issue, after it was raised at Orewa this year.

“I doubt it’s a coincidence that I flagged National’s intention to review immigration policy this year at Orewa, and now Labour has announced restructuring today.”

He is commenting on the secret briefing that the Government is giving journalists this afternoon about changes in immigration policy.

“Labour hasn’t got it right in the past six years, so there are obviously doubts about whether they can get it right this time. Labour’s approach has been loose and chaotic, and allows many immigrants to go on to welfare, becoming a burden on taxpayers.

“National will take some time to examine today’s announcement, since we were not granted access to the two-hour briefing offered to the media. There are bound to be aspects that we will want to examine more closely.

“At Orewa this year I said the country needed to have a debate on immigration policy, which had been evolving without serious public discussion. Too often the subject has been used for political advantage and not enough attention has been paid to the social and economic outcomes,” says Dr Brash.

National went into the 2005 election promising to:

- Focus priority on skilled immigrants, with greater recognition of proven work experience in areas of skill shortage.

- Introduce a four-year qualification period of Provisional Residence for all new immigrants.

- Extend the benefit stand-down period from two years to four years.

- Merge the Immigration Service and the Citizenship Office into a new Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

- Require family stream sponsors to be in work, business and/or able to fulfil all sponsorship obligations for the benefit stand-down period.

- Cut refugee quotas to 750.

- Ensure immigration cases are dealt with quickly and fairly but with reduced access to appeals.

- Require business immigrants to create at least two permanent full-time jobs for non-family members.

- Require more active financial investment by Investor immigrants.

- Require appropriate English language skills from Business and Investor immigrants.

ENDS

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