Pasifika communities must be part of immigration rebalance

The Greens are calling for the Government to reconsider the immigration reset so that it better reflects our relationship with our Pacific neighbours.

“After numerous calls from the community, including a petition from the Pacific Leadership Forum calling for pathways to residency for overstayers who have been in New Zealand during the pandemic, the Minister had said overstayers were being considered as part of the immigration rebalance,” says Teanau Tuiono, Green spokesperson for Pacific peoples.

“But the announcement this week left them out. There was nothing for Pasifika overstayers in the immigration rebalance, even though these fanau continue to live in dangerous conditions and are more at risk of getting seriously unwell from COVID-19.

“The immigration rebalance should have been directed towards migrant workers, Pacific families, and people who have already lived in, and put down roots, in Aotearoa for many years.

“Wednesday’s immigration announcement was a chance to address the concerns raised by HRH Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili at last year’s Dawn Raids apology, who said, ‘the vā could be better and complete, should the Government promptly respond to the immigration-related needs of the community’," Teanau Tuiono says.  

Green Party spokesperson for immigration, Ricardo Menéndez March, says: “RSE workers are still being exploited and too often forced to live in inhumane conditions. We echo the calls from the Amalgamated Workers Union NZ in their submission to the Select Committee Inquiry into migrant exploitation, for improved living conditions for the workers.

“We also echo advocates, such as Lisa Meto Fox, who are asking the Government to reform the scheme so that RSE workers are paid a decent wage and have the same rights as any other New Zealand workers.

“New Zealand is entrenching a two-tier immigration system through this rebalance, where wealthy immigrants have guaranteed pathways to residency, but low-waged migrants in essential areas like aged care are denied this certainty.

“Migrants from the Pacific and elsewhere who come to New Zealand and care for our elderly, build our infrastructure and homes, and process our food deserve to be recognised and supported, not kicked out if their employers decide they’re no longer useful.

“The Greens will continue to call for an amnesty for overstayers, pathways to residency for our Pacific neighbors on temporary work visas, the reopening of the parent category visa, and a review of the non-visa waiver status of many Pacific island nations,” Ricardo Menéndez March says.

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