Issue 371 June 15, 2017
Andrew Little drew mixed response for Labour Party’s Immigration Policy which he unveiled at a press conference in Auckland on Monday, June 12, 2017.
It did not favour some members of the Indian community, some private education providers and of course the National Party.
In essence, Mr Little has stayed on the same page as National, although signing the same note on a different tone. He has sought to reduce immigration by numbers whereas the ruling Party wants a check by raising the income threshold.
The debate over whether international students should seek and get jobs as a ‘matter of right’ continues to rage but according to many residents and citizens, while they can be accorded ‘the privilege’ for no more than 20 hours a week, there is an increasing view that they pose a threat to homegrown graduates and jobseekers.
Over the years, we have seen thousands of students from India arriving here, not just for pursuing their higher education but also to land on a job and settle here as permanent residents and become citizens.
Cause for concern
While export education is a profitable enterprise, providing thousands of jobs for people here, the increasing number of international students competing for jobs with nationals and other permanent residents has become an issue of concern.
Many New Zealanders have begun to feel that students, with their ability to be flexible and accept lower salaries, have depressed the income levels, creating socio-economic problems. The rising number of work permits issued to students is also a matter of concern, according to some people.
Hostility to immigrants is rising all over Europe, but opinion polls suggest it is worse in Britain than in any other rich country. The new government of Theresa May in London has promised to cut net migration to “tens of thousands.”
Export education is good- for businesses, educational institutions and the economy. But a system has to be in place to ensure that incoming students, welcome as they are, do not upset the applecart, and bring down the standard of living, which is easily achieved by unfair competition.
In our view, Mr Little has done well to spell out a policy that is in tune with the times.