New Zealand’s official opposition, the National Party, is calling for a Parliamentary inquiry that it says “would finally give a voice to the desperate migrants who feel unheard and ignored” by the current Government.
The party’s spokesperson on immigration, Erica Stanford, says it is calling for the Education and Workforce Select Committee to open an inquiry into the migrant issues created by Covid-19 and New Zealand’s closed border, as well as Immigration New Zealand’s policy settings and rules.
“Since our border closed a year ago, many of our temporary visa holders have had their lives thrown into turmoil,” Stanford said.
Migrants being kept apart from their families
“Critical workers – people we invited here to nurse our elderly and teach in our children’s classrooms – are being kept apart from their babies and young children.
“Kiwi businesses already hurt by Covid-19 have lost vital, highly-specialised workers who had no option but to return to their families because their partners and children couldn’t join them.”
According to Stanford, these migrants have had no platform to share their stories or call for change.
“Their letters and emails have gone largely unanswered. The so-called ‘kind’ Government and its silent Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi have refused to give them any kind of hope or assurance,” she stated.
All workable solutions need to be explored
“A select committee inquiry would allow MPs to learn how Covid-19 has upended these migrants’ lives.
“It would enable us to put questions to the Minister and authorities across a wide range of issues, and allow all workable solutions to be explored, including the implementation of trans-Tasman and Pacific travel bubbles.
“With every passing day of inaction, Jacinda Ardern and Kris Faafoi risk losing more of our critical migrant workforce and eroding more of New Zealand’s reputation as a welcoming destination for migrants.”
Stanford said she had written to her Labour, Green and ACT colleagues on the committee seeking their support for an inquiry. She hoped they would agree that New Zealand’s migrants needed a platform for their voices to be heard and for solutions to be found.