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Consultants’ claims ridiculous and misleading

25 September 2003 Media Statement

Consultants’ claims ridiculous and misleading

Claims by an immigration consultants group that they warned of a “dangerous dip in immigrant numbers” are ridiculous, and the group’s use of statistics was misleading` Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel said today.

“New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI) chairman Bill Milnes ignores the fact that these statistics are an amalgam of permanent and long-term (PLT) arrivals and departures. The figures include people who intend to enter or leave New Zealand for 12 months or more, and so the statistics reflect the fall-off in international student numbers. It also includes Kiwis both returning and leaving, and we have seen changes in both of these in August statistics.

“Despite all this, PLT arrivals still exceeded departures by 2200. In my early days as Minister, more people left the country than were arriving, month after month.

“I suspect the real reason these consultants didn’t speak out then was that business was good for them. They could bring in thousands of clients without caring whether they were needed here, and no-one noticed because of the huge outflow of New Zealanders, including many disappointed migrants who left as soon as they got a New Zealand passport.

“Bill Milnes won’t acknowledge that the changes introduced in November 2002 and announced in July this year, benefit New Zealand and migrants, but I guess it’s harder for consultants to ensure good settlement outcomes than to fill out forms.”

Lianne Dalziel said that last year’s evaluation of the 1999 business immigration policy showed that many Long Term Business Visa applicants were buying off-the-shelf business plans just to get approval. Once approved there was nothing to stop them establishing a totally different business.

“Changes introduced in November 2002 were designed to stop this abuse so that the business plan that was approved had to be implemented.

“The evaluation showed that the Long Term Business Visa policy was being deliberately promoted by consultants as an alternative for people who did not qualify under the General Skills Category, due either to a lack of qualifications or a lack of English,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel claims that Bill Milnes has also misrepresented the 1 July 2003 changes.
“He says a job offer has to be obtained before an expression of interest can be lodged, yet the new Skilled Migrant Category which is not yet in place, has no such requirement, although those with a job offer will receive a higher ranking. It is only the interim general skills category that requires a relevant job offer so that NZ does not miss out on potential migrants in the intervening period.”

The Skilled Migrant Category which is expected to be introduced in December this year, will replace the General Skills Category.

Lianne Dalziel said immigration consultants have told her they believe the policy changes are good because they put New Zealand’s interests back into the mix.

“I am disappointed that the leadership of NZAMI is taking political potshots, that do not fairly reflect the views of the good consultants who believe their job doesn’t end once the resident permit is stamped in the passport,” said Lianne Dalziel.

ENDS

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