Venkat Raman –
Contrary to the fears expressed in some quarters about their ‘harmful and negative effects,’ migrants are good for the progress of the country and New Zealand’s Immigration Policy should be more welcoming.
That is the gist of a report published by the ‘New Zealand Initiative,’ a Wellington based think tank.
The Report, titled, ‘The New New Zealanders: Why migrants make good Kiwis,’ released on January 30, 2017, is a short analysis of the various sectors of the New Zealand economy that are impacted by migration.
“Simply by moving here, immigrants have helped to shape the forces that make up modern New Zealand,” it said.
The Report said that the country has a lot to offer to temporary migrants as well as those who want to move here permanently.
“But are we suffering from our own success?” it asked.
A different story
The Report cited arrival figures on PLT (Permanent and Long Term) basis to argue that the ‘extent of permanent migration has been overstated.’
Quoting official figures, the Report said there were 125,000 PLT arrivals between June 2015 and June 2016, 29% of which were New Zealand and Australian citizens.
About 55% of the PLT arrivals during the period comprised temporary student and work visas and that only a fifth of the temporary visa holders gained permanent residency.
“PLT departures make up the other side of the migration equation. Overall, there was a net loss of 3200 native born New Zealanders in 2016, the lowest level in the current PLT data series,” the Report said.
The Report quoted the New Zealand General Social Survey as saying that immigrants integrated well into the New Zealand society.
“They are less likely to claim a benefit, more likely to be employed, and their children have better education outcomes than native born New Zealanders. There is relatively little ethnic or migrant clustering, and where concentrations do occur there is no indication of high unemployment. 87% of migrants say they feel they belong to New Zealand. Surveys show New Zealanders too have a generally positive view of migrants, and value the contribution that they make to the economy and the cultural diversity they bring,” it said.
NZ First slams
But New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Winston Peters was not impressed.
“It is academic gobbledygook for anyone in New Zealand to believe 125,000 people settling here in a year is beneficial,” he said, calling the think tank as ‘Pro-Market Lobby Group.’
As children go back to school and principals struggle to find space and teachers for them the pro-market lobby group NZ Initiative has the gall to insist mass immigration is a plus for this country. Theirs is a jaundiced and biased point of view. New Zealand infrastructure is under siege,” he said.
Labour Party MP and Immigration Spokesman Ian-Lees Galloway was more charitable, saying that it engages people on one of the most significant current political issues but found it short on realities.
“The report fails to address the inequity of outcomes for different kinds of migrants. People who transition from temporary work or student visas to residency and citizenship earn considerably less and have poorer employment prospects than people who come as skilled migrants. Those people are also incredibly exposed to exploitation from unscrupulous employers,” he said.
Indian Newslink will carry further analysis of the Report in its ensuing issue.