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Zimbabwe Migrant Policy Backed

24 September 2004

Zimbabwe Migrant Policy Backed

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) applauds new government policies for Zimbabweans living in New Zealand on temporary permits.

“Many Zimbabweans work on New Zealand farms and this policy change gives them some security that they and their families can stay," said FFNZ Vice President Charlie Pedersen.

His comments follow the government announcing yesterday that the current arrangements around temporary permits will be extended; and Zimbabwean citizens who are lawfully in New Zealand but do not qualify for permanent residency permits will be encouraged to apply under a special policy.

Due to a shortage of farm staff, many farmers are dependent on skilled migrants to help run their businesses.

Previously, many Zimbabwean farmers did not meet the standard to apply for permanent residence.

Mr Pedersen urged all Zimbabweans to ensure their permits were kept up to date, and that the immigration department had their current address.

"The government should take a similarly proactive look at its policy which defines farm managers as unskilled under current immigration rules. A classification as unskilled workers makes it very difficult for these valuable people to work in New Zealand.

"It is ridiculous that people who manage multi-million dollar businesses which contribute a lot to the New Zealand economy are deemed by the government to be unskilled, yet a person pulling pints behind a bar is considered a skilled worker.

"The government's policy to define farm management as unskilled shows arrogance and ignorance of the reality of modern farm management, which requires controlling a complex biological system using an array of technology, skills, and equipment," Mr Pedersen said.


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