Pathways to residency and amnesty needed today!

Petitioning for Pathways to residency and an amnesty for overstayers in Auckland

A solution has been found for the migrant workers crisis and it is in implementing the following four demands – none of which were addressed in the government announcement last night which only dealt with future settings:

– Pathways to residency for everyone in New Zealand who wants to stay and make New Zealand their home. We should be thanking them for doing us a favour if they choose to stay.
– Amnesty for those who have overstayed their visas and allow them to access residency if they choose to.
– Stop tying visas to particular employers
– Allow everyone caught abroad who had made New Zealand their home for work or study to return, with a timetable that is clear and join the pathways to residency if they want to.
If the government doesn’t move in this direction this week there will be major mobilisations of the migrant community over the next weeks and months. The climate of fear has been broken and the voices of those who are being treated, and have been treated in an inhuman fashion, are now able to articulate their needs and make demands on the government not just beg to a deaf, dumb and blind government department called Immigration NZ.
How can the broken immigration system be fixed?
The government now has the powers to fix a crisis in the migrant labour system that has been developing over the last few decades.
This system promised those who were willing to study and work here the possibility of transitioning to permanent residency once they had completed their studies and found suitable work.
For many years, that dream was a possibility. New Zealand needed these people because we lose about 1% of our population each year permanently to outward migration, mostly to Australia.
Even just to maintain our population, we needed to issue around 40,000 permanent resident visas a year.
As a consequence, approximately one in four Kiwi-born New Zealanders live abroad and one in four NZ-resident Kiwis were born abroad.
In the year 2000, the number of student, work, and resident visas being issued was about 40,0000 each.
By 2020, the number of temporary work visas being issued hit a quarter of a million and there were about an additional 100,000 student visas with the right to work.
Over 300,000 people were working in New Zealand on some form of temporary visa – 15% of the workforce.
But for the last two decades, it has become harder and harder to transition to permanent residency. The promises being made to students and workers coming to this country – that there would be a reasonable chance to transition to residency – were increasingly impossible to meet.
Entire industries had become dependent on workers on temporary visas, and could not operate without them.
Reliant on a ‘temporary fix’
Temporary visas became the drug of choice to fix the problem as these industries were unable to recruit and train Kiwis to do the jobs at wages that genuinely reflected the skill and work intensity involved.
But addiction to the need for workers from abroad just led to the demand for more and more visas to be issued each year.
Immigration New Zealand became the addicts’ enabler and did nothing to force changes in these industries to become less reliant on a “temporary” fix.
Unite Union supported protests against the deportation of students to India in 2016

But these migrant workers were desperate to please their employers and would do anything to win the opportunity to be sponsored for permanent residency.

There was no incentive for employers to fix the problems that stopped them from recruiting labour in the first place.

This system has also resulted in horrific cases of exploitation.

Many employers simply forced workers to work many hours unpaid if they wanted to keep their jobs and visa sponsorship. Many workers have also been recruited on the basis of lies told to them about their ability to shift from one visa type to another, or the pay they are going to receive. They usually pay fees of around $50,000 for the visa on top of the costs of relocating.

Many of these workers end up overstaying their visas to earn enough to pay back the debts incurred getting here.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment does almost nothing to police or prosecute employers involved in abuse or exploitation.

The covid crisis has forced us all as a nation to have a rethink on what should happen in the future to the labour market in NZ.

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Post-covid, there will be no return to a dependency on issuing hundreds of thousands of temporary visas each year to plug gaps in employment and subsidise the public education sector.

This situation gives us the opportunity to fix the problems for those already here and honour the promises made to them and then broken after they arrived.

The same rules should apply to those stuck overseas, who were ordinarily resident New Zealanders, to access the same pathways over time.

The last term of the Labour-led government in coalition with NZ First made the situation significantly worse for this group by accelerating the increase in temporary visa numbers while slashing the permanent residency numbers by 25%.

Unique moment in NZ’s history

Today, the points needed for permanent residency have gone through the roof and exclude jobs like teachers and nurses or carpenters.

There are currently about 250,000 people in NZ on a temporary visa. A few thousand more are probably “overstayers” who should be seen as victims, not criminals.

We will not be able to replace them in the immediate or even near future.

Most probably want to stay. Many have spent tens of thousands of dollars on degrees and put up with unpleasant jobs for the right to residency.

Many have been here up to a decade, renewing their visas again and again, and some have children born here.

This is a unique moment in NZ’s history.

Most employers want these workers to be able to stay. Most unions want pathways to residency so workers can escape their vulnerable status that is so prone to exploitation.

We can discuss at our leisure what sort of migrant labour system we will need in the future but NZ will always need new permanent residents so long as there is a significant wage differential with Australia that attracts labour there.

Employers, unions, and the government also agree that significant investment in training is required.

In my view, every young Kiwi who graduates from school should have a job or a place in training guaranteed to them. Temporary visas should be restricted to students or working holiday visas in the future.

Industries that need workers should be able to sponsor workers to come to NZ but once here, they should be able to change jobs and have pathways to residency.

Soon the government will be announcing new criteria for accessing residency using the special powers they have been given.

This policy must include pathways to residency for those here or overseas who have made NZ their home, and an amnesty for overstayers to join this pathway.

Petition of 17,000 to support pathways to residency and an amnesty for overstayers presented to Green MP Ricardo Menendez and Labour MP Marja Lubek on May 10, 2021


  1. All immigration matters need to be run by the New Zealand Immigration service. Not contracted out to locals in countries where corruption is rife.

    • People around here have been saying that for years, well I know I have been. The immigration minister is just out of touch with reality.

    • Yes, what hypocrisy when they bring in people ‘to create jobs’ and outsource the NZ jobs themselves.

      Also what is the point of spending billions on security in NZ, when anybody can easily breach it with our corrupt led visa processing.

  2. Immigration policy and INZ is a shocker and a complete bloody “shambles”(not my word) and has been for quite some time.
    That Nash speech yesterday had one or two OK bits, such as investing in plant and machinery and providing vocational training for citizens/residents already here. The rest was weasel words but after several years of dithering and kicking the can down the road, not surprising.
    People at the coal face have been offering viable solutions since before Labour came to power in 2017. People such as Matt McCarten and his associates in the Union Movement targeting exploiters and ripoff merchants. So have academics such as Spoonley, and reformed neo-liberal economists such as Hickey.
    So have legitimate Immigration Advisors – such as McClymont in Auckland, a few in Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch, (AS OPPOSED to those that have ties to vertically integrated little business scams: businesses that relate to things on the usually outdated ‘skills shortage list; people running security companies who give immigration advice on the side; labour hire companies with lacky advisors; etc. Complete madness by INZ who’ve devised and encouraged it.) So have a few journalists – Killgallon, Fonseka, Bonnett, Morrah for example.
    It hasn’t just been “lack of capacity in our public service” as Helen Clark described it. It’s been bad policy and it doesn’t make ‘lil ‘ole NuZulln that punches above its weight look very good – or kind.

    Then there’s the fundamental conflict of interest having both INZ and the LI under the aegis of the Ministry for Everything. A ministry that’s there to encourage growth and continued earnings in various sectors, and they do so by what we once referred to as “churn”. Immigrants are expected to work, eat (if they can afford it), shit, sleep; work, eat, shit, sleep, repeat – then INZ will flush in anticipation of the next load of victims. Some have had it worse – the cycle goes: study (some crap course), work, eat, shit, sleep in support of our wonderful export education sector with falling international rankings.
    Immigrants should not have any expectation of a normal life – such as the baggage of being in a relationship or having children, and if they do you can guarantee INZ will make it as difficult and expensive as possible.
    There is after all, “no such thing as society”. Merely economic units contributing to growth regardless of any value. Even Eric Crampton can see its unfriendly, counter productive and tantamount to slavery.

    And what do we get after 4 years of a Labour government pondering and doing “pieces of work” by people who only seem to listen to their ‘officials’ rather than those at the coalface with lived experiences of the situation? An acknowledgement that vocational training is necessary and investment in things that’ll allow us to ‘make stuff’ again – but with it, more of the same and worse. Scams will continue, people will be exploited and ripped off – but its all good because apparently the dollars will roll in through that “churn”, and “high value investors” (like Peter Thiel and his unkept promises).

    Oh, and then we have JA on Morning Report who seems to think all is OK in the Kiwifruit industry!
    I guess because her ‘officials’ have told her so.
    I’d go further than an amnesty! Those that have been ripped off (including by INZ), deserve to be compensated.
    /endrant (Just in all honesty, we can’t pretend to be any better than some of the worst places around the world where slavery and exploitation is happens). And all this is under a LABOUR government that I’ve supported most of my life. Fuk ’em

  3. Nope don’t agree with the amnesty. We are already seeing opportunistic people constantly bringing their elderly relatives into NZ even using their children to do so. NZ’s younger folks face a massive crisis and we may not have free pensions and health care the way governments are going.

    Time to concentrate on NZ’s growing problem of local poverty and lack of opportunity and solve that by putting 100% of resources into solving our growing local poverty problems – practically every local group is now in crisis from NZ children in care and being abused, to the NZ working poor, the NZ middle class precariat, the NZ low wages and poor working conditions, the NZ gap of discrimination in the workforce past 50 years old, the NZ pensioner crisis.

    The visas were temporary and just like the NZ to UK working holiday visas, you go home at the end of the visa and happy to have had the opportunity to explore, work and study overseas.

    Nobody ever expected the UK to support temp visa holders for the rest of your life and give all your relatives free pensions, health care, passports, schooling etc. Not sustainable and stupid to do that!

    • Agree with ya saveNZ and we need to be more ruthless we have many peoples who haven’t been here for long saying ‘we have been paying taxes’ well so have thousands of Kiwis living in Australia but they have to come home to get cancer treatment and if they commit a crime or are found to be of bad character its homes james for them. Not here its a free for all, come one come all and in the meantime many NZers are missing out, its not good enough it has to stop. I am sick of hearing all the sad sop stories. Being kind is one thing but being naive and stupid is another. I think we need to wise up.

    • Agree entirely, can’t save all the people all the time. NZ needs to be less idealistic and more realistic, too many here facing insurmountable challenges that can only be addresses by a responsible government – housing costs, cost of living, out of control rates and rent, stagnant wages etc. Immigration only exacerbates these issues.

  4. Creating an amnesty for overstayers penalises those who spend time and money to go the legal route.

    • Amnesty for overstayer also sets a bad precedent. I feel some people are trying to take advantage during the covid.

    • Yep sending the wrong message. Also many who overstay do so because they don’t qualify under the rules. It then encourages more overstayers to come, as the people traffickers of positive stories of overstaying in NZ and then getting your family residency here.

      Likewise the ‘compassionate’ extensions and citizenships, for people like Sroubek, drug smuggler, identity thief, liar, Gang recruit, domestic violence allegations etc… Also rapists, mentally ill etc all being given NZ citizenships.

      It is hard on our own criminals who get less resources, NZ justice is crying out and full to the hilt with more and more crimes awaiting trial, the blameless victims of drugs and crimes are increasing.

  5. Copied fro
    We import low skill to drive Ubers and/or work in bottle stores or similar and essentials such as airport terminal cleaning. Why? Because us the locals says it don’t pay enough. Thus the second situation. In terms of remuneration those in the penthouse are running hot while those in the basement are barely on subsistence. So let’s make it simple. Without cheap imported labour the those relative vocations will then need to pay more to attract workers otherwise they won’t function. If those workers are paid more then the fat cats at the top might then need to be paid less.

    No. Immigrants are not doing us a favour. Quite the opposite.

  6. Ekshully, the rant ain’t quite over.

    1. Has anyone in this gummint ever asked WHY visas must be tied to a specific employer?
    It’s a recipe for exploitation as countless examples have shown. I know Tuarike Delamere is opposed, just as he is to an amnesty. Apparently the fact that an Advisor and an employer (arsehole or otherwise) whose done all the work in dealing with a dysfunctional Munstry is more important than an immigrant in bondage and stuck in the cistern with no way out. He is more concerned that the immigrant could be “poached” by a good employer from an arsehole employer because the arsehole employer did all the work in dealing with authorities.

    2. Lest you think there aren’t some bloody good people in our public service, there are. They usually don’t last long or they’re constantly looking for other ‘opportunities elsewhere’. While their Masters and Mistresses of the Universe overlords and ladies concern themselves with their work-life balances, expanding their careers and capturing and dealing with Ministerial overlords (and even PMs), they labour under this cistern till they can stand it no more. Masters and Mistresses usually get to carry on – even the authors of demographic spreadsheet profilng, cops that couldn’t hack it in the ‘force’ or who came to realise their future prospects weren’t all that great, and one or two others instead get promoted so they can cause mayhem elsewhere. It’s set in stone – which is probably one of the big differences between the concept of the old boys network pre neolib corporatisation of our PS, and what we have now.

    3. I’ve just been listening to Bernard Hickey and Peter Wilson jabbering on in a podcast. Hickey put it best when stating we’ve issued cheques [ through INZ by the way ] that couldn’t be cashed. I.E. cheques issued in the knowledge (unless they were completely fick) that would bounce. If I did that, I’d expect to be locked up before too long.

    3. I’ve forgotten 3, but it’ll come back to me before too long. But it had something to do with JA thinking things have substantially changed in the Kiwifruit/Hort sector, and I wondered just who the hell told her that.

  7. “If the government doesn’t move in this direction this week there will be major mobilisations of the migrant community over the next weeks and months.”

    Let them.

  8. But this also has a moral dimension, which a decent society cannot simply shunt aside. If exploitive employers are actively creating a new class of urban poor living in harsh material hardship resulting from and caused by
    precarious residency status, then adding to their woes in an arbitrary fashion is barbaric. There’s usually a middle road, and it should be sought, rather than revictimising victims now living in fear and despair.

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