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MP proved right in anti-Asian claims

MP proved right in anti-Asian claims

National spokesperson wants Immigration Service overhauled

The National Party's Asian affairs spokesperson, Pansy Wong, claims she's been proved right in labeling current immigration policies "anti-Asian" and harmful to New Zealand's economy.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the New Zealand Association for Migration & Investment in Auckland, Ms Wong pointed to the shortfall in immigration candidates succeeding under the "invitation only" immigration policy adopted last year.

"Only 1206 people have met the 150 point threshold in the yearly quarter to May-out of the annual quota of 28,000 skilled migrants," she says, adding that 40% of those invited to apply came from Britain.

She said that despite India's world renown for its I.T industry, it ranked just third on this list, with China in fourth place. Each of these countries provided around 17% of those invited to apply.

"These lackluster results so far back up my labeling the change of the policy as 'anti-Asian' when it was rushed through the parliament last year..

"The most damaging part of last year's events was the passing of legislation done under urgency to lapse over 20,000 applications largely from India. This coupled with other related changes in a short period of time, has impacted negatively on New Zealand's image internationally," she said.

Noting that legislation for the regulation of immigration advisors was to be introduced to parliament next year; Ms Wong said that government needed to consult "smartly and properly".

"The New Zealand Immigration service has not inspired confidence so far and questions should be raised at the type of advice they can provide to the Minister in setting up an effective regulatory framework for immigration advisers.

"It is time for a structural change to occur to the Immigration service, it needs to be a stand alone, high quality policy advice and service delivery agency.

"The days of the service being part of the Department of Labour are over. Immigration is no longer about bringing in manual labour at all. Nowadays people with skill and capital are sought after," said Pansy Wong.

She added that government is negotiating a free trade agreement with China but there is no apparent strategy to involve businesses or to stress the benefits of having Chinese-speaking staff.

Pansy Wong also says that New Zealand should adopt a compulsory second language policy in schools.

"Our young people are missing out compared with their peers in Asia or Europe. People who speak another language are less apprehensive about people who look or speak differently.

"Our children should enjoy the opportunities that are opening up for others by being global citizens and have the confidence to move in the world among people whose language and culture is different," she says.

The NZAMI represents over 200 members throughout New Zealand, including immigration and investment consultants, lawyers, banks, business specialists and financial advisers. The Association seeks consistent, fair, reliable immigration policies of long-term benefit to New Zealand.

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