Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Experts Urge Migrants To Be Proactive & Vocal Following New Immigration Laws

Two immigration law experts are urging migrant workers and communities to make their voices heard so new powers introduced to Parliament this week, to help manage visa changes, are only used as they are intended.

Deborah Manning, Barrister, and Nicola Tiffen, Immigration Law Partner at Anthony Harper, encouraged individuals and communities to be proactive and vocal through contacting their MPs, community leaders and the media, so politicians know how the public feel about their decisions and how people are affected by their decisions.

Ms Manning said: “There is always a risk when government is given broad powers and people need to know they can speak up so decision-makers, like politicians, can hear and understand their concerns and be accountable to the community.”

The advice comes as the Government introduced a bill into Parliament Tuesday to amend immigration law in order to help manage visa changes for large numbers of migrants impacted by COVID-19. The amendment bill will give government eight time-limited powers.

According to Ms Manning who specialises in human rights and immigration law and is convener of the Auckland District Law Society Refugee and Immigration Committee, the government has been clear that they do not want any migrants to be disadvantaged by COVID-19.

“Through this amendment bill, I believe the government is trying to find a way to manage the difficulties and delays, and support the welfare of migrants,” Ms Manning said.

“More will become known about the amendment bill and new powers over the coming weeks. I hope it will be able to make a difference as people’s lives and livelihoods have been turned upside-down,” she said.

The two experts, speaking at Belong Aotearoa’s ‘Immigration and your rights during COVID’ webinar, explained key aspects of the new bill and offered more tips and advice to migrant workers impacted by COVID-19.

According to Nicola Tiffen who has over 18 years’ experience in immigration law both in New Zealand and abroad, it is a stressful time for many who are here on work visas.

“Many tuning in to the webinar felt uncertain about their situation in New Zealand and were concerned about losing their job,” she said.

Manning and Tiffen’s number one piece of advice for migrants is to get professional advice from an immigration lawyer or adviser.

“Your immigration status is absolutely critical for your future – for you and your loved ones, so it is a smart move to find an affordable adviser. Ask and look around for recommendations,” Ms Manning said.

Ms Tiffen’s tips for keeping costs down include having all your paperwork and documentation together in the one place.

“It doesn’t have to cost a huge amount to get professional advice. It can often be more costly if you leave it too long to get professional advice and it becomes a bit of a mess. Act early if you can or start putting some money aside to help cover the costs,” She said.

Manning and Tiffen’s top tips for getting help and helping yourself were:

  • Get help from an experienced immigration adviser or lawyer.
  • Put your paperwork in one place – bring it with you to the lawyer.
  • Find your employment agreement and job description – bring that too!
  • Keep evidence of staying in touch with your partner.
  • Emails and letters must be clear and not too long – get help from a friend.
  • Be honest. Immigration New Zealand requires honesty.
  • Don’t rely on the automatic 25 September expiry date.
  • Check when your medicals and police certificates expire.

A poll of the webinar audience found:

  • 62% (38 out of 61) are very uncertain or uncertain about their current situation in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • 52% (30 out of 58) are worried about losing their job.
  • 25% (15 out of 60) are worried about deportation.

The webinar which can now be viewed online covered:

  • Changing your employer or your visa (11:30)
  • Getting help and helping yourself – including practical tips for moving forward (20:10)
  • Having to leave New Zealand – including voluntary departure and involuntary deportation (29:40)
  • Immigration (Covid-19 Response) Amendment Bill – what is known so far (41:53)
  • Question & answer session (49:25)

Belong Aotearoa is holding more webinars in their COVID-19 & Employment for migrants series. Visit www.belong.org.nz for more details.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Clark Exit, Convention Centres, And The Killing Of Hachalu Hundessa

Goodbye, David Clark. In the end, the outgoing Health Minister decided that in the midst of a pandemic the best thing he could do for New Zealand would be to no longer be there – given that being there had involved hiving off on his mountain bike during a lockdown, and throwing the country’s most beloved Health bureaucrat under a bus. As Clark indicated so memorably at last week’s press conference, when it comes to managing public health risks at the border the buck stops with…that guy over there! In the aftermath of that debacle, Clark reached the same conclusion the nation had reached some time ago, that leadership just wasn’t his thing. Once again, he got on his bike.... More>>

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>


Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>


Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>


Gun Law: A New Firearms System Focused On Safety

Tougher gun laws will begin to take effect from next week following the passage of new firearms legislation through Parliament today. The Minister of Police says the Third Reading of the Arms Legislation Bill is an historic milestone for community ... More>>


Government: Building A Stronger Health And Disability System

The Government is committing to a long-term programme of reform to build a stronger New Zealand Health and Disability System that delivers for all. More>>


National: Todd Muller Announces Caucus Reshuffle

Today I am confirming a minor shadow cabinet reshuffle due to the retirement of Paula Bennett. Dr Shane Reti will be ranked number 13 and will take on Associate Drug Reform. Shane has demonstrated a huge intellect and capacity for work, supporting ... More>>

Biosecurity: Winston Peters On EU Travel: 'We're Not Going To Compromise Our Country's Health'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealanders who head to Europe on holiday should pay for their two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return. More>>

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>


Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>


Int'l Trade: New Zealand To Host Virtual APEC In 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels