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Seasonal permits must be faithfully policed

Hon Lockwood Smith
National Party Immigration Spokesman

25 October 2006

Seasonal permits must be faithfully policed


The National Party is seeking an assurance that a programme allowing Pacific Islanders into New Zealand on short-term work permits will be faithfully policed.

Immigration Minister David Cunliffe announced today that Pacific Island workers will be eligible to work in New Zealand on seasonal work permits to fill vacancies in horticulture and viticulture when no New Zealanders are available.

“National is deeply concerned about the skills shortage, particularly with regard to the seasonal workforce, but Labour’s track record with immigration, and overstayers especially, is woeful,” says National’s Immigration spokesman, Lockwood Smith.

The Immigration Service estimates there are about 20,000 overstayers resident in New Zealand at any given time.

Dr Smith says he wants an assurance that workers on this scheme will be monitored closely and deported promptly if they do not leave when their permit expires.

“New Zealand needs these workers to help ease the seasonal skills shortage, but it must be a two way street – if they breach our immigration laws they must be shown the door smartly.”

ENDS

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