It appears that the election year is time to blame migrants for all the woes of the country.
Despite the fact that the education is $2.5 billion export industry for New Zealand and a large portion of that are students from India, the current National Government, through Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has decided to target Indian students seeking to remain here permanently.
From my observations over the years, a majority of Indian students who graduate tend to work in the service and hospitality sectors, which have traditionally provided a pathway to permanent residence.
INZ has however taken a dramatic change of direction, targeting the same students and destroying their aspirations by choosing to interpret Immigration policy in a manner that makes it almost impossible for them to obtain permanent residence.
This has been done without any formal changes to the current policy.
INZ has chosen to use the current policy that is badly drafted and intrinsically faulty to target the sectors and migrant groups that it chooses to persecute.
A large number of Indian graduates work in the service and hospitality sectors, with many businesses operated under a franchise model.
INZ has decided to attack these migrants by interpreting policy in such a way that it literally closes the door on their permanent residence aspirations, despite the fact that these students have brought billions of dollars into the country. Besides, they have also worked tirelessly to develop the retail service and hospitality sectors to a high level, benefiting all New Zealanders.
INZ officials seem to be a force of their own. They continue to undertake practices discriminating against Indian communities whilst ministers remain completely oblivious to what is going on beneath them. As is always the case, as soon as a politician is handed immigration portfolio, they seem to cover their eyes and ears and defend the vindictive discriminatory practices of their own ministry.
Whilst Prime Minister John Key and others proclaim the advantages of migration to New Zealand, their own departments work tirelessly in the opposite direction by continuing to target and persecute graduates, mostly from India and China, who bring large incomes and economic activity to New Zealand.
Credit must therefore be given to the Labour and Green Parties who at least have the honesty to admit that migrants are no longer welcome. As has been the case throughout history, any country which faces an economic crisis (real or imaginary), or any Party that struggles in the polls prior to an upcoming election, make migrants an easy target. They do so to gather support and votes from the ignorant masses who prefer to blame foreigners for their problems rather than roll up their sleeves and address the issues themselves.
This time, the supposed crisis, which the Labour Party hopes to address by reducing migration, is the housing shortage.
I believe that housing is a complex issue, with a myriad of reasons and variables attributing to shortages. Yet, Labour Leader David Cunliffe has chosen to simplify the issue by claiming that it is all the migrants’ fault.
The media plays the game nicely by focusing only on Asian homebuyers, whilst ignoring the large number of homes being bought by English and South African migrants on the North Shore. The media would not evince any interest when the buyers are white.
How reducing migrant numbers will immediately solve the housing shortage is a mystery, considering that the houses still need to be built by someone.
It appears that the Labour Party’s plan is to have houses built by the unemployed, the main skillset of some of who would appear to be the ability to manufacture drugs in their kitchens and achieve new high scores on X Box.
So white migrants are not the problem, and Labour goes to great pains to point out that Pacific Islanders will not be affected; after all, they are under-represented amongst skilled migrants. Therefore, it is fine to continue bringing in unskilled migrants, as long as they continue the tradition of voting for Labour.
What can migrants of either political persuasion do? Approach your MP and ask why the current Government is choosing to target predominantly Indian graduates in closing down that avenue for permanent residence.
Clearly, the MPs will not have an answer because neither they nor the Immigration Minister has any idea as to what INZ is doing. Make them aware of what is going on.
When Labour candidates come knocking on your door insisting that you continue to support their Party, ask them why they are targeting Asian migrants only, ignoring those in their own party who are advocating for a better and more efficient system of controlled immigration growth.
Unfortunately, for the Indian community, there seems to be a complete absence of any recognition of their value to the country with both major parties seeing them as a soft and complicit target.
Alastair McClymont is Principal of McClymont & Associates (Barrister & Solicitors) located at (Level 1), 2 Owens Road, Epsom. Phone (09) 6233344; Email: email@example.com