UnitedFuture outlines NZ immigration policy

The leader of New Zealand political party UnitedFuture has revealed his party’s immigration policies, stating the country should embrace immigration, not rebuke it.

UnitedFuture leader, Peter Dunne, is calling for more tolerance in the current immigration debate.

“I want to make our position clear, UnitedFuture is a party that embraces diversity, celebrates our multicultural heritage and believes that immigration and support for our migrant community will always be an important part of our national fabric,” Dunne said.

“We abhor the racism and xenophobia currently creeping into this discussion. We know how special our country is and if we want new migrants to properly become part of the extended New Zealand family we need to be open to allowing migrants to work here and bring their families here.

Mr Dunne has set out UnitedFuture’s immigration package which focuses on four key ideas:

Ten Year Population Strategy

UnitedFuture would introduce a 10-year population strategy that would require the government to publish a strategy mapping the impact of demographic changes on NZ’s society and economy.

“The strategy would channel the resources of Government to develop a long-term view of what changes are likely to occur in our society and what our needs will be into the future,” said Dunne

“Through having that knowledge on hand we can gear our immigration system and skills shortage lists to cater for those likely changes meaning we have more efficient matching between overseas workers and jobs in New Zealand. “This approach is far less reactive than placing population caps and allows us to be much more flexible in how we approach immigration.”

Ensuring that the immigration system is employment driven

UnitedFuture would guarantee a fast-track for residency for those immigrants who are sponsored by an employer in a field on the skill shortage register. This would allow employers who are unable to find employees to easily sponsor someone into work and would be in addition to the current skills shortage lists.

“We want to see a matching of skills with a demonstrated shortage in New Zealand. It is vitally important that where gaps in employment exist that local businesses are encouraged to fill those gaps,” explained Dunne. “By letting employment drive which skilled migrants come into the country we can allow industries with skills shortages to tailor our immigration, rather than solely relying on Government mandated lists.”

Family Reunification

UnitedFuture would seek to strengthen family reunification in our immigration system by guaranteeing a fast-track to residency for a migrant who has a majority of their immediate family in New Zealand who are willing to sponsor that person and demonstrate the ability to support them.

“Allowing our families to flourish is a bedrock principle of New Zealand society that does not change because you were not born here,” said Dunne. “We want to ensure that if, as a resident in New Zealand, you have a parent or child living outside of the country that you have the ability to sponsor them into the country.

“We would ensure that to fast-track your family member you must prove that you have the ability to support them. That would likely mean that the sponsor has a residence and employment.”

Support for new Migrants

UnitedFuture would introduce new programmes that ensure adequate support and information is provided to new migrants. Including:

– Designing a comprehensive immigrant settlement programme to ensure all immigrants receive full information and support regarding language, community events, job placements and social services; – Develop a global online service that matches skilled migrants with job opportunities within regional New Zealand; and – Establish a one-stop business development agency that helps migrants in establishing their own businesses.

“We have to stop seeing immigration as a problem, and move to embracing it as an opportunity to grow and develop our country for the benefit of all of us,” said Dunne.

Article published 26th October 2016