A Green Party member’s bill would provide stronger protections for people in migrant communities who experience family violence.
“My new bill will make potentially life saving changes to the law that will support migrant victims of family violence to remain safe here in Aotearoa,” says Green Party MP, Jan Logie.
Jan Logie’s Protecting Migrant Victims of Family Violence Bill would amend the Government’s current immigration settings to make it easier for migrants experiencing violence to leave violent situations.
“Everyone has the right to a life free from violence, regardless of their immigration status. However for migrants coming to Aotearoa New Zealand with their partners, New Zealand’s current immigration settings can trap them in some very dangerous situations.
“Under the current rules, migrant victims of family violence in a relationship with a citizen or permanent resident have access to two special visa categories. They can either be granted a Family Violence Work Visa for six months or, in some specific circumstances, a Family Violence Resident Visa.
“However, the criteria for both is so narrow and the burden of proof so high that many survivors are not eligible, and are forced to remain in a violent relationship in order to stay in the country/with their children.
“Immigration Ministers past and present have known about this for years, particularly following the findings of a 2019 report by Immigration New Zealand - and yet nothing has been done to change it, including in the big immigration reset the Government announced a few months ago.
“My Bill would provide a long overdue pathway for migrants who are trapped in violent relationships. It will put the needs of children at the heart of the system and make it easier for migrant victims to apply for, and be issued with, a family violence visa.
“As part of the work to implement the Women's Employment Action Plan, the Government is currently preparing to review immigration settings for migrants who experience family violence. The first thing they can do is commit to supporting my Bill.
“The Green Party has been at forefront of progress to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand is a place where everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, can live a life free of family violence.
“As part of the Government, my colleague and Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has published Aotrearoa New Zealand’s first ever National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence, Te Aorerekura.
“This strategy highlights the potential for an abuser to use a partner’s insecure immigration status as a tool of violence. But the reality is, if we are going to change that we will need the support of the Immigration Minister, Michael Wood.
“Imagine if leaving a violent partner meant there was a chance you would be deported and your children would be left without your protection?”
“For far too many migrants living in New Zealand that is the reality they face right now. Often with a lack of family support, few friends, no money, and little understanding of where to turn for help - and even when they do, knowing that the help available is often too hard to access.
“Political apathy to change this is putting lives at risk. We are calling on Minister Wood to support my bill as part of the work the Greens are doing to create a stronger and more peaceful society,” says Jan Logie.
The Green Party’s ongoing work to better protect migrants also includes calls on the Government to overhaul the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme in the wake of recent revelations of shocking human rights violations.