Our immigration system is broken

During the election campaign, Jacinda Ardern said that Labour’s immigration plan was to reduce net migration by 20,000 to 30,000. Photo: Lynn Grieveson, Newsroom

Both Labour and NZ First campaigned on reducing immigration. That they have not done so after coming to power is shameful enough. What is worse, is that our immigration system is full of scams and nobody is doing anything to stop them. We are being exploited by opportunist migrants almost as much as if they were arriving in boats with no passports. quote.

Co-ordinator of Union Network of Migrants and the Indian Workers’ Association, Mandeep Singh Bela, said when one loophole was closed the next was found.
He said the latest scam was to advertise a job – as they required to prove there were no local workers available – but not include the salary rate.
Remuneration rates set by Immigration New Zealand made jobs attractive to New Zealand workers.

Rogue employers instead wanted to hire an immigrant who would then be easier to exploit, Mr Bela said.
“What they’ll do is advertise a job with no intention of hiring a local worker; there’s no intention sometimes of actually even interviewing those local workers.

“The employer already has a migrant worker in mind who he decided a deal with that he is going to exploit.
“The problem was when the visa application letter went to Immigration they did not even ask ‘Why? What was wrong with the other 20 who applied? What did their CV say?’

n quote.

“It takes away all the integrity in the system. It undermines the wages for local workers.” 

end quote.

It used to be that local workers had to be hired first, before migrants. What happened to that rule? Now it seems we already have an open door policy that just allows people in without proper care and diligence. quote.

Mr Bela is calling for work visas not to be tied to a named employer, so workers would be able to shift jobs and raise the alarm about dodgy bosses.
Tougher penalties were needed because many were making more money through exploitation than fines they had to pay if caught, he said.

  RNZ end quote.

There are lots of different scams. Below are listed just a few: quote.

The Fake Job. There’s the paperwork to satisfy Immigration NZ and a salary paid to satisfy the IRD, but the job doesn’t exist and the migrant has to return the salary in cash (and top it up for the tax that’s been deducted).

The Underpaid Job. They might tell Immigration NZ and IRD that they’re paying minimum wage – but the migrant is either returning some of their salary, or working a huge number of extra hours for free, or for cash under the table and below the minimum.

The Inflated Job. The real job might be washing dishes – but when it comes to the paperwork, it’s a manager’s position.

We’ve talked to countless migrants who came here thinking they would get residency and a well-paid job. Almost all studied for meaningless qualifications purely to secure visas, worked in low-paid, unskilled jobs, and were ruthlessly exploited, usually by other, earlier-arriving migrants, who drained them of their cash.

One confessed overstayer claimed his bosses in the kiwifruit industry broke his legs when he fell out of line, knowing he’d never be able to go to a hospital for treatment because he risked deportation.

  Stuff end quote.

Immigration New Zealand needs to stop granting visas to drug dealers from the Czech Republic and start actually dealing with some of these scams. Yes, some of the workers would probably face deportation, but even that might be better than living here under these conditions.

New Zealand prides itself on a very low level of corruption. With many stories like these, are we really corruption free? It doesn’t sound like it to me.