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Fenton sponsors migrant workers petition

17 November 2009
Media Statement

Fenton sponsors migrant workers petition

Labour MP Darien Fenton is sponsoring a petition from the Migrant Action Trust and 2,626 others which will be tabled in Parliament today.

The petition calls on the House of Representatives to urge the Government to provide for a range of relief actions for migrant workers made redundant because of the recession.

“Over the past year hundreds of migrant workers have been made redundant and left high and dry,” says Darien Fenton.

“These workers came here on the promise of a new life. New Zealand welcomed them as skilled migrants when we didn’t have New Zealanders to do the work and now we want to send them packing.

“Many have been laid off without redundancy pay and only have a short window to find another job under the same scheme or leave. They are not entitled to any state income assistance, so the workers are scratching around to feed themselves and their families while they desperately look for another job or find the funds to return home.

Ms Fenton says that New Zealand needs to do better in the way we treat migrant workers who are already in New Zealand.

“I accept that in a recession, immigration laws will be tightened and support for unemployed New Zealand citizens or residents will be given priority.

“But the irony of the report today that rich migrant investors are lining up to move to New Zealand will not be lost those migrant workers already in New Zealand who are struggling right now.

“At some stage in the future, New Zealand will recover from the recession and we will again be competing internationally for skilled workers. As we know from the past, New Zealand’s reputation as a decent place to live, work or study in can quickly become damaged so I hope the Government will take this petition seriously,” says Ms Fenton.


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