90% of chefs no longer eligible for permanent residence

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Just a few months ago Andrew Little was attacked by the government for questioning whether New Zealand actually needed so many chefs as part of the skilled migrant category.

That same government has just adopted a policy that will eliminate 90% of those who had previously qualified under that category.

The government has been caught juggling too many balls and has ended up adopting a response that is probably going to bite it in the foot.

The government has been in denial on some obvious things happening to the economy and labour market.

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It is simply a fact that speculative investments (including foreign investors) are cranking up the real estate market to become a bubble that threatens to burst.

Capitalist business owners have also been caught out using the vulnerable position of some of those who have come here to work and study to exploit them without mercy. And that includes many major businesses owners and not just smaller ethnic restaurants.

Under political pressure from Winston Peters rhetoric claiming there were “too many” immigrants the government has trimmed the overall number being given permanent residence by five percent. New Zealand had a target of 90-100,000 over two years and now the target is 85,000 to 95,000.

The number of approvals has been in the 40-50,000 range for over 15 years, including when Winston Peters was in coalition with the Labour Party-led government from 1999-2008. Normally New Zealand needs that sort of number just to replace the population it is losing.

But there has been a surge in net migration gain in numbers over the last few years because of a major swing around in the number of New Zealand residents leaving the country on a permanent or long-term basis. This has cut the net loss to Australia from 40,000 in 2012 to near zero today.

From simply replacing those who have left the permanent residence approvals have contributed to a record migration gain and an overall boost to the population.

From the government’s point of view, this helped hide rather anaemic economic growth figures. It has also boosted the population significantly over a short period of time and fed the property price boom.

There have also been many scandals associated with the exploitation of migrant labour in often unskilled work categories.

The government began to appear in denial on some fundamental economic challenges and was opening its flanks to crtics like Winston Peters.

This is what prompted the reduction in overall resident permit numbers. The actual reduction is minor and its impact on total numbers moving to and from New Zealand will be negligible. But the government can claim to be seen to be doing something rather than pretend there are no issues to be dealt with.

However to achieve that reduction in the number of people being granted permanent residency the government has increased the points required from 140 to 160 in the skilled migrant’s category. They also completely suspended the right to bring parents in.

The effect of this relatively small change, however, is to radically reduce the numbers being approved from a range of job categories that had met the test for skilled migrants in the past.

New Zealand has also been marketing itself as a migrant destination to recruit hundreds of thousands of people to come here to study and work each year.

Having a chance to transition to a permanent residency is a key to attracting that pool of labour. Billions of dollars a year is being taken off students in fees and they are a source of cheap labour while they are here. Often they work unskilled or semi-skilled jobs.

After completing a year-long course the student can get a job search visa for a year then a two-year work visa. Often the work can at best described as semi-skilled.

The skilled worker category makes up around nearly 30,000 or 60% of the total residence visas in 2015/66 with the remainder being family reunification and some humanitarian categories.

Half of this number, in turn, went to former students. That was around 15,000 in 2015/16.

Several hundred thousand temporary work visas are issued each year and a large percentage of these people are competing for that relatively small pool of skilled category visa. Desperation and exploitation are ever present. Rule bending and breaking are common.

However, radically reducing the number of people able to come to New Zealand in these categories means that thousands of students who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the dream of achieving permanent residence have had the rug pulled under them part way through the process.

It will also possibly completely undermine the tertiary education sector that has depended on that dream being at least partly real to suck in fees and the businesses using and abusing cheap and vulnerable labour.

Reducing the number of those eligible for permanent residence only intensifies the competition between those already here and makes them even more vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

The government has announced it is reviewing the whole points system for permanent residency.

Whatever they do you can be sure they will keep on bringing in students and workers on temporary visas for their big business mates to use and abuse.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The majority of the No Zealand “export” education industry is not about education at all, but rather, as you point out, selling visas with the promise of permanent residency. Remove the latter, and much of this so-called “education” will disappear. Christ, I could make a school, call it “Visa Factory” with a flashing neon sign in Queen Street, and those foreign colonists (not all migrants are colonists, but all colonists are migrants) would not bat an eye while National Party supporters watching their paper value skyrocket on the back of the property bubble would simply turn a blind eye.

  2. “New Zealand has also been marketing itself as a migrant destination to recruit hundreds of thousands of people to come here to study and work each year.

    Having a chance to transition to a permanent residency is a key to attracting that pool of labour. Billions of dollars a year is being taken off students in fees and they are a source of cheap labour while they are here. Often they work unskilled or semi-skilled jobs.

    After completing a year-long course the student can get a job search visa for a year then a two-year work visa. Often the work can at best described as semi-skilled.

    The skilled worker category makes up around nearly 30,000 or 60% of the total residence visas in 2015/66 with the remainder being family reunification and some humanitarian categories.

    Half of this number, in turn, went to former students. That was around 15,000 in 2015/16.”

    Sound like a huge immigration scam or Ponzi scheme to me, where many have the fingers in the pie, from tertiary and other education providers to homestay providers, to Immigration NZ earning lots of fees for the government, to consultants here and overseas, earning their fees, to hopeful or desperate trying to get in and get permanent residency, to landlords letting flats and rooms for accommodation, to employers of course, having a large pool of very “willing” and compromised workers, who compete for jobs, even working for less than the minimum wage.

    Add also the legal fraternity, able to earn from disputes, from disputed Immigration NZ decisions, from their clients, being either overseas students, new migrants and also employers here, facing allegations, charges and claims.

    The government as a whole, last not least, can boast about “economic growth”, which on a per capita basis is non existing, but as so many have vested interests, also real estate and letting agents, they all continue participating in, and supporting this huge scan, to keep it going.

    Once the bubble bursts, they will all suffer, so it is like addiction, keep up the habit and deny the inevitable end of the ride, the withdrawal and painful “recovery”.

  3. Figures out today, about 70k net migration gain up til Sept. 2016, show us that overall little will change.

  4. ”Whatever they do you can be sure they will keep on bringing in students and workers on temporary visas for their big business mates to use and abuse.”

    No doubt they will. But lets make one thing perfectly clear before we all get a guilt complex about it.

    We never asked for all these immigrants to come here . We were never consulted about about the massive numbers being allowed in , and this govt had no mandate whatsoever from the voters to even consider those huge amounts.

    And I and many many others are frankly sick and tired of having the neo liberal ‘guilts’ put on us every time this subject about immigrants comes up.

    The only reason these neo liberal moralists have been so busy expounding the saintly virtues of being ‘ tolerant’ and discussing in rosy glowing terms that multiculturalism adds ‘colour’ and ‘diversity ‘ and that ‘we cant do without them’ is to enable continued downwards pressure on wages , to help suppress unions ( most immigrants wouldn’t dare speak out or approach a union , – which is a shame because they need union protection as well ) and provide a cheap pool of labour at the expense of many of our young people.

    Despicable.

    This business about ‘ we need them ‘,

    Since when?

    Ill tell you since when.

    Since 1984 and Roger Douglas, that’s when.

    When Douglas and Richardson slashed welfare and when the original Employments Contract Act was drawn up , that’s bloody when !!!

    You quote figures of when mass numbers left New Zealand in droves when neo liberal policy became entrenched in this country. And that’s WHY they went to Australia in those droves – to avoid becoming broken ass poor work slaves, that’s when and that’s why as well !!! .

    And our young med students and professionals and tradespeople left for Australia , Canada, England and the USA because they were so saddled down with massive student debts and because wages here are so appallingly bad as well as conditions , that’s when.

    What was the last count living more or less permanently in Australia?… 600,000 ?!!?

    600,000 Kiwis in Australia !!!

    Ever wondered where many of the people who would have voted Labour went?… that’s right – pissed off to Australia because neo liberal Labour was as bad as neo liberal National !!!

    And neo liberal apologists tried to justify that exodus by telling us bullshit such as we need more migrant skilled workers!!! – after we just kicked our New Zealand students and skilled workers in the nuts and caused them to leave these shores forever , for crying out loud !!!

    Oh , but the devil is in the detail , isnt it,… because a second good reason for the neo liberal planners was that if enough immigrants were allowed to pour in , – and ideally from country’s that have poor labour records to begin with , – that could help create competition among NZ citizens and immigrants and keep those wages right down low.

    Small wonder that both John Key and Bill Double Dipper English called NZ workers ‘ drug addled’ ‘ lazy ‘ ‘ hopeless’ – what an amazing thing to come from the mouths of elected govt officials about their own people!!!

    Flabbergasting !!!

    I’m afraid I haven’t got much sympathy left for those who took the opportunity to come here and dipped out. The same applies to Kiwis in other country’s , – we aren’t always shown great favors just because we happen to be New Zealanders , – look at China,… can we waltz over there and set up a home , buy land , bring over our family’s and have our elderly parents go on the pension scheme?… not on your bloody Nelly , we cant !!!

    Every country has a right and an obligation to look after the best interests of its people- no one else will. .- why should we be any different?… are we the ones to be singled out to be the global soft touches?

    Perhaps a compromise could be made and some form of reimbursement made. With some of that coming from the agents who got them here.

    And another thing : this boohoo sob story about these private education providers. They only exist because of the neo liberal deregulated market that created these conditions in the first place , – their not anything special , – if anything they are little more than capitalistic parasite organizations.

    Maybe we should be looking at a more sustainable and productive industry that churns out a product for export , huh ?

    So I wouldn’t get too carried away with that revenue that’s lost if immigrant numbers track downwards , – it was a fabricated artificial industry created out of the rubble of real jobs that were lost over the last 32 years of neo liberal subversion.

    There was a time when we as a nation were proud of the Kiwi can – do No 8 wire mentality . We contributed to the world in countless innovations, garage shed and backyard inventions, earth and Ag sciences , Women’s suffragette movement and the vote , and even showed the world how to split the bloody Atom !!!

    Who the bloody hell were these neo liberal arseholes to start saying ‘ we need’ ‘skilled’ workers, we need more ‘innovative business skills’ ??? – if it wasn’t for those neo liberal arsewipes we wouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place and we wouldn’t even be needing to have this conversation.

  5. so, as a reformed chef, 25 years experience, from small, busy rural cafe to top end restaurant dining, including starting, running then selling a restaurant bar, what would be a reasonable wage expectation.

    would a wage for unsocial, stressful hours, the success or otherwise resting on your shoulders (essentially the key role in a hospitality business), likely to get near the $35+ an hour?

    surely in this global market, the wages should reflect skills, experience and rarity of the commodity.

  6. Yeah. Its called “Clipping” the ticket education fueling the build of apartments, low waged jobs and displacing kiwi’s a place in higher education and driving fee’s/costs up loading kiwi’s up with debt before they enter the job market full-time at a lower wage than what it was when they started their higher education.
    The market would of changed too, and their career choice might no longer be the flavour of the “year” as another industry competing for government funding has persuaded the government to resource there industry at the expense of yesterdays next “Hot Career!

    After many years in this sector I can only say that educational qualifications are for sale and quality of that education varies hugely especially in the private sector.

    A $3b industry Mr Dildo “pretty Legal Fixit”Joyce will protect at all costs by probably driving up fee’s for kiwi’s pricing them out of the market to free up seats at institutions to justify a “New” policy for fee paying foreign students?

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