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Immigration policy addresses needs of Pacific migrants

Immigration policy addresses needs of Pacific migrants

Labour’s immigration policy announced today pays homage to our strong and proud history in the Pacific and the valuable contributions our large Pasifika population makes to New Zealand, Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio said.

“The policy also addresses the outstanding needs of the Pacific migrant community,” Sua William Sio said.

“Waiting times for permanent residency are too long. Labour’s policy acknowledges the specific qualities Pacific Islanders bring to our culture, economy and skill base and commits to stream-lining this process.

“Too many Pacific people have illegal or irregular immigration status. This is adversely affecting Pacific youth who are missing out on education, medical and hospital care as a result of their parents’ status. Labour’s policy encourages those living here illegally to regularise their status.

“Labour is committed to strengthening families’ wellbeing and enabling meaningful contribution to the economy and society through positive settlement and resettlement.

“Maximising the skills of new migrants is vital for social and economic growth; to succeed we must address specific and known areas of skills shortages. Our migrant population drives innovation, provides international business connections and reminds us that we are part of a global community.

“The Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme (RSA) has been positive in recruiting workers, largely from the Pacific, to fill labour shortages in the horticulture and viniculture industries here in New Zealand.

“Labour is committed to enhancing that scheme so that workers are better looked after before and during their stay and are paid the minimum wage as well as their accommodation provisions,” Sua William Sio said.

“New Zealand’s working environment is rapidly changing. Once a country with record low unemployment rates, we are now seeing an increasing number of people out of work. That means our policies must be flexible enough to deal with rapidly changing labour markets and future local requirements.

“Labour is committed to an immigration system that acknowledges that. To that end we will review the NZ Immigration Programme, introduced a decade ago by a Labour Government, to ensure it is still meeting our needs across business and humanitarian streams.

“Labour is committed to a world class immigration system which contributes to economic growth, acknowledges our special role in the Pacific and puts the well-being of migrants and New Zealanders first,” Sua William Sio said.

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