New Zealand’s ethnic and migrant communities are anguished and disappointed over the Government’s sudden policy changes.
Immigration Minister Nathan Guy announced the changes, giving applicants only three days’ notice.
It has been disheartening over the last two weeks to attend and listen to the legitimate concerns of people, who believe that they have been unfairly treated.
Such a short time deadline was shocking, unfair and impossible to meet for genuine applicants.
On the other hand, the Government has created a two-tier discriminatory system for parents of New Zealand citizens and residents favouring the rich (Applications made by wealthier sponsors will be processed faster than those of lower income), and requiring parents of poorer sponsors to pre-purchase English tuition.
The National Government believes that family sponsored migrants are a burden on the New Zealand economy!
We must not forget that it was due to Labour’s robust policies that we have stronger and more diverse ethnic communities contributing to the success of New Zealand today. If it was not Labour’s family friendly and strong immigration policies that opened doors for deserving immigrants, most of the people that we are proud of in the community would not have settled in our country.
Migrants, an asset
When Labour gets back into power, it would consider making changes to the discriminatory immigration policy being introduced by the National Government.
They are unfair and put wealth as the foremost criterion for immigration decision- making. Their policies run counter to Labour’s approach to immigration, which are transparent and fair.
Labour went to the last election with a detailed immigration policy.
It was Labour that introduced the adult child, parent and sibling categories.
Our policy process is a democratic one and communities can have input into that through the Labour Party policy making process.
I am working closely with Labour MP Dr Rajen Prasad, Party leaders, candidates and others to strengthen the ethnic sector.
I would like to extend my sincere invitation to the members and leaders from various ethnic communities to strengthen the Labour Party that truly understands and cares for the migrant communities.
Sunny Kaushal is a Member of the Labour Party. He was a candidate at the Pakuranga Constituency in the Election held on November 26, 2011.