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Immigration Changes Good But Don't Go Far Enough

8 February 2001

IMMIGRATION CHANGES GOOD BUT DON'T GO FAR ENOUGH

The announcement today that the Government will increase skilled migrant numbers is a welcome step in the right direction but misses the opportunity to go further, says Hon Peter Dunne, leader United Future and MP for Ohariu-Belmont.

"The Government's aim of increasing migrant numbers to 27,000 each year is indeed a welcome move, but is still well short of the 50,000 approvals per annum as set out in United New Zealand's immigration policy. That number of approvals would achieve a net immigration gain of 10,000, so the target announced today will only produce a net gain of about half of that.

"A net gain as small as this may not make the positive impact on the economy we are all looking for. If the government is serious about moving to ensure that immigration policy is responsive to business needs and will facilitate meaningful economic and business growth then a more liberal new migrant target is needed," says Mr Dunne.

He also says with new business migrants arriving there must also be strong migration settlement policies to help them set up in business when they arrive and provide more practical support settling into New Zealand.

"United has proposed for some time the establishment of a one-stop Migrant Business Development Agency and extra resources for the Immigration Service to assist our new migrants. New comprehensive immigration settlement programmes devised in consultation with the Federation of Ethnic Councils are also needed.

"If new migrants are going to arrive in their thousands then we don't want to squander the opportunity by not providing reasonable support once they arrive," says Mr Dunne.

Meanwhile Mr Dune says the moves to adjust the English Language Testing system requirement are long overdue. " I applaud the Government for confronting this issue and looking at potential migrants from a broader perspective.

"The Government has shown with their announcement today that they are at least addressing some of the problematic issues with migration policy. The challenge is to build on their positive moves so all New Zealanders and new migrants can share in the potentially huge economic, social and cultural benefits," says Mr Dunne. END

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