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Immigration needs another shake up

A Departmental Survey has found that a majority of Licensed Immigration Advisers have passed the test of transparency, integrity and dependability, lifting perhaps in the process, entry of better-qualified migrants to this country.

The License Regime, complete in its form and scope including those operating offshore, should bring into the process a more robust system.

However, the problem of graft, delays and unnecessary harassment of applicants by Immigration New Zealand officials continue to worry potential immigrants and New Zealand residents seeking their services. The need for a thorough shake-up of the Department is therefore more pronounced now than ever before.

Indian Newslink will continue to bring into focus erring employees and unhealthy practices that they perpetrate, not only to promote public interest but also the image of New Zealand as a fair and corruption-free destination for immigrants.

The dynamics of immigration depends on the ability of the Government and the administrative machinery to adapt to changes and requirements of the economy.

Immigration is an issue that will never disappear from a journalist’s monitor screen.

Some readers and critics often chide us for harping on immigration “as though there was nothing else to write about.”

We make no apology for raising the issue from time to time.

For, New Zealand, US, Australia and Canada, would continue to depend on immigrants to remain as progressive and developed nations.

Far from being xenophobic, we would like to see orderliness and a well-defined policy in place and more important, teams of officials who are able to discern the good from the not so good and bring in people who would contribute to our progress and development.

But the functioning of the immigration department has in recent years been a cause for concern to us, and privately many ministers and government protagonists as well.

It is therefore natural that immigration policies and practices have come under attack in recent years, both in newspaper columns and on the public domain.

There is then the constant threat of terrorists and unwanted elements trying to seep into our country with false identities and documents.

New Zealand appears to have thus far been free from terrorists and their stooges who are ready to die along with countless others.

But we can be neither sure nor too careful.

New Zealand needs a strong statutory foundation to facilitate development of future policies focused on economic growth.

There must be a new immigration regime in place, with officials who share the same enthusiasm as politicians in ensuring that there is a just process of selection, which is colourless and targeted only towards those who can add value to our country.

Migrants bring skills, trade and links to export markets, investment, ideas and cultural diversity to this country. They are critical to economic growth, those with skills are sought all over the world, and we must compete to attract and retain them.

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