[thanks and acknowledgment to stuff.co.nz, scaffmag.com, and newzealandnow.govt.nz! maraming salamat sa mga kabayang nasa mga larawan!]
Dear Honorable Minister Lees-Galloway:
YOUR TIME is important, you have a million things to attend to, so I’ll keep this as short and to-the-point as possible, although I don’t think it will be that short.
Like all personal letters like this, it can only be about something that’s personal to me, the letter-writer. That is one thing I’m an expert on, and on myself and my stuff, my opinion is not only accurate, it’s also the best available.
The coincidence is, there is one aspect of my personal affairs that concerns both you and me, and that is the matter of immigration. The only difference is it concerns you professionally, while it affects me personally. Thus, this letter, and without further ado let me hit the ground running:
three-year stand down period. Under the new essential skills work visa rules, unskilled workers must after three consecutive years of work “stand down” or leave their jobs for no other reason than that they should go home to reestablish their roots with their home country.
I see two problems with this, with all due respect. “Unskilled” as defined under the rules is determined by two things : by a skill level based on industry and specific type of activity , a basis I might add originating in Australia and adhered to by New Zealand. It’s also determined by the amount of money earned by the worker.
What if the skill level was not considered high enough in one country but more so in another? What if skilled labor was, based on factors other than supply and demand, not remunerated well enough in a particular industry? And what if, circumstances have changed regarding how skilled a particular worker or position is?
Lastly, the concept of sending home, and therefore forcing a work visa holder to lose a job, because of what the government sees as a need to reestablish roots with a worker’s home country is a bit misguided. I can only use my own and many other Filipinos’ example: nearly all of us go home as often as we can, every year if we can.
(I forgot to add sorry, I’m one of 40,000+ Filipinos, one of the most demographically dynamic ethnic groups in your beautiful country New Zealand.)
You may have other reasons to impose a forced stand down period on work visa holders but to insist on your reason is a bit misleading. Worse of all, if I may say so, this policy will sadly just create an artificial labor shortage in a situation where none should exist.
ANZSCO rules. While I’m on the topic, I’d like to ask: why does Immigration New Zealand, enforcing rules that govern guest workers, foreign students and migrants to New Zealand, use a classification of occupations that were drafted in Australia?
I understand the rationale behind avoiding the need to start from zero, from scratch. I know the two countries have similar industries and ways of looking at jobs and occupations. I know the two countries have similar ways of doing things.
But Australia is Australia and New Zealand is New Zealand. Why do two different, sovereign countries have the same rules about something as sensitive as allowing guest workers in separate countries?
Besides, in as much as New Zealand is quite hospitable and welcoming to Australia, considering it as a sister nation, Australia sadly has not been reciprocating recently. Australia to be quite honest has not treated New Zealand as well as New Zealand has treated Australia. Why then should New Zealand continue to use Aussie rules? Just thinking out loud.
Parent category. On the premise of keeping families together, allowing NZ resident children to be good sons and daughters to their parents, you created a visa pathway allowing parents to join children in New Zealand.
Two years ago, the previous Government suspended this visa pathway using the (at the time) valid reason of processing a huge backlog of parent category applications.
Moreover, you can’t be blamed for such suspension because the situation came to be under a different party in power.
But that was more than two years ago. Since then, so many parents and applications have been in limbo. Families continue to be separated. Parents in their twilight years cannot join their children. Not to nitpick, but visa application fees weren’t returned.
When can people expect the parent category resident visa pathway to be reinstated?
So much promise across many sectors of NZ society was seen at the dawn of the Labour Government’s first day in power. Among these sectors was the guest / foreign worker class, not strictly part of New Zealand society but one that makes a solid contribution nevertheless.
We continue to hope that the Labour Government, represented by the good Minister, will continue to promote and defend our interests, look out for us, and at the very least protect the rights we hold dear.
a nameless worker