Pathways to residency a victory for all working people

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The government’s decision  to grant a pathway to residency to 165,000 people in Aotearoa on temporary visas is a win for all working people.

Both National and Labour had in the last few decades created a system of migrant labour exploitation through the massive expansion of temporary visa numbers while freezing the number transitioning to residency.

A bigger and bigger percentage of the workforce was being kept permanently in a temporary status which made them vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous bosses – which means nearly all bosses.

Over the last two decades, temporary work visas went from 40,000 a year to 250,000 a year before Covid 19 hit the economy. Some families had been on recycled temporary visas for a decade or more. The chance of transitioning to residency just became harder and harder because the residency numbers being issued stayed about the same – 40,000 a year while temporary visas numbers exploded.

Whole sectors of the economy became dependent on temporary visa holders. This also depressed wages in these industries because workers visas were often tied to particular employers and people were desperate to get them renewed each time. Remember the screams from the Kiwifruit industry this year when they couldn’t get people to pick fruit for the minimum wage on offer. Well a record season was picked and they had to pay workers a higher wage to do it. That is called “the market” at work.

Giving the workers in Aotearoa a pathway to residency means an end to this form of bonded labour and we should never go back to that situation again. The elitist points system for permanent residence is not fit for purpose. We ended up with PhD’s driving taxis. If we need carpenters, they should have a pathway to residency and not be bonded to a particular employer.

The immigration reset should be to ensure we end all forms of migrant labour exploitation permanently.

45 COMMENTS

    • I think you probably know why @Trev.
      In recent times you can lay the blame squarely at the door of neo liberal managerialism and the control freakery that’s necessary o sustain it; the masters of the Universe that set things up in the public service such as they now are (Including what H1 once diplomatically described as “lack of capacity” – tho’ in reality the wankery and ideology the likes of Key, Joyce, Coleman and others get their jollies from,
      Fuk ’em. Really they should have the decency to resign, altho I won’t be holding by breath
      Although I regard this as a good “win” (in this pace going forward), if you think it’ll all come to pass as planned , I’ll buy you a lotto ticket and we can both wait and see.
      The reckons are that resolving the shit the Munstry for Everything got JA and one of her most underperforming Munsters into might take 12 months..
      Already there are worker-bee case managers begging their “clients” to do various things in order to expedite processing.
      Meanwhile – the culprits for all this bugger’s muddle think they can waltz away from it all.

      Sorry chaps, and chapesses – ain’t gonna happen like that – you’ve shat on too many people.
      The dithering and opportunities missed went on far too long.

  1. I agree Mike, but we now also need some serious commitment to developing home-grown skills. Investment in trade, teacher, nurse, doctor training, alongside support for NZ owned companies.

    • Yes well said Peter. Interestingly we have 700 ICU trained nurses on standby should we need them in the event of a major outbreak. I notice this is not reported anywhere. It may help to alleviate the anxiety of those saying open the borders to foreign nurses.

    • +100.
      And it’s as much about those that might miss out as it is about whether those in the Ministry for Everything can be trusted to get on with the job. No problem with the worker bees within (as long as they can be persuaded to stay), more their micro managers in a Ministry that’s never been able to walk and chew gum at the same time, and which has completely the wrong culture to be handling immigration issues and worker exploitation (Thanks a bunch Messrs Joyce and Coleman – your bugger’s muddle has always been working as designed))
      Probably the best thing JA could do now would be to quietly have a bit of a cabinet reshuffle in order to both take a load off a Minister that’s obviously got more to do than he is capable of doing, and to send a message to one or two ‘officials’ famed for their demographic spreadsheet profiling and their wonderous handling of our MIQ cistern. It might also be of some value in sending a signal to political parties JA will probably be reliant on when forming a gummint in ’23

        • /agreed
          But you weren’t seriously expecting anything useful to come out of all that rhubarb rhubarb shite over whether or not to merge TVNZ and RNZ were you?
          – When members of the 4th Estate and those claiming to be journalists have to beg for donations and subscriptions ALIKE
          – When the commons assets, properties and frequencies are traded for commercial gain
          – When those responsible for the Concert FM debacle and the demise of ‘The Wireless, and who have about as much imagination and originality as that of an amoeba retain their jobs
          – when there imagination only stretches to something akin to NPR
          – when Iwi broadcasters struggle to get what’s due

          I think I should probably stop now. Idiot Savant will be giving the cane toad enough shit over Justice and I’d hate to be responsible for a Munster’s ability to claim victimhood and nastiness from anonymous social media armchair critics.
          The spin meisters though have been working in overdrive over immigration

  2. Yes well done the government, however I’m sure The Kraut will find fault, he always does. But I have a solution for him, move to Aussie or the States or the U.K., they are doing so, so, so much better than us…oh wait?
    Now sit back and wait for the broken record to reply.

  3. This immigration change is most welcome but let’s remember the use of unemployment as a policy setting under neo-liberalism is the most EVIL aspect of neo-liberalism. Immigration is obviously a driver of low wages as Mike states but it’s also a driver of unemployment for locals. Economists and banking commentators currently say we have “full employment” but tell that to any of 140,000 unemployed kiwis needing a job and see if you get a laugh. Covid has turned off the tap of low skill immigration, Labour needs to keep it firmly turned off.

    • I agree. The number one failure of spreadsheet capitalism over the last 45+ years is the inability to provide the required level of opportunity and mechanisms for people to be employed in useful and productive work and to be paid fairly for their time. I think governments and bureaucrats understand that it’s a much better outcome for people to use their skills and feel useful than rely on welfare or an (as yet) hypothetical universal basic income and that a smaller slice of a larger pie is bigger than a larger slice of a smaller pie from an economic and tax collecting perspective. The problem is that they don’t have a viable process to deliver these outcomes and instead rely on stop-gap, quick fix “solutions” that ignore the people they fail and pay them welfare to disguise the shortcomings of their approach.

  4. This is a great day. Well done our govt, great move. And all that without any political pressure for a change – totally proactive, which is unusual, so yeah, big ups to Kris!

  5. Perhaps it is just a co-incidence that Amazon.com have announced plans to set up $7 billion plus data centre in Auckland over the next 15 years.

  6. And you’re still alive Keepcalmcarryon, how can that be?
    Maybe it’s because “New Zealand has been the longest-running first-ranked country on the Bloomberg rank, since the ranking debuted in November 2020.”

    I remember you commenting how brilliant we were at the time…oh that’s right?

    And now we’re 38

    • If your memory is any good, you will remember me wanting the first lockdown sooner, and relaxed sooner than we got.
      Only about half my posts pass moderation so I’m not sure how clear that was.
      I’ve been scant with praise tho.
      Calling a lockdown is easy, it’s private sector workers and businesses – especially the small ones- who make all the sacrifices.
      So we needed a sensible roadmap ages ago and basically did nothing for 18 months, vaccination rate is a laughing stock and one reason our ranking is now low and Delta hard to shift.
      Cheerleaders for endless lockdowns tend to be not greatly affected by them – old, or in the public service.
      Basically it’s selfish behavior.
      Check out the Chardonnay socialists wankers on The Standard on whatever thread discussing which crate of whisky they were buying, while people’s livelihoods are destroyed.

      • ‘it’s private sector workers and businesses – especially the small ones- who make all the sacrifices.’

        WTF? I see now where your priority lies. I wonder why only half your posts don’t get by the moderator?

    • 38 according to economist who are all about the money they don’t take into consideration the number of deaths its dollars.

  7. These people are just us a few decades ago. All the unskilled Brits who came here. Skilled or rich immigrants is patting us against the lie of our fur. Work should be a regular route to residence. All these people are great. Versus, say, the Yank billionaires who bring their vile plutocratic beliefs with them.

    • I emigrated in 1969 from the UK. I wanted to come here but they only took skilled people so I went to Australia . All they wanted was strong young people. Not sure when it changed to unskilled

    • Completely different for those escaping the class system of UK, who had no welfare and so forth, to migrating to NZ today with being middle class, buying ten’s of thousands in NZ visas (student, work visa), having little travel hardship with just a few hours flight with in-flight nuts, and able to access welfare in NZ after a short period of time. No wonder NZ is oversubscribe with low skill migration, nobody wants to leave NZ who is low skilled, it’s the skilled people leaving!

  8. How does this actually benefit working class people in NZ apart from the business people and those who have come from other countries.

    • A lot of those people do well and start a business that hires the locals . There are 170000 unemployed in NZ and fruit remained unpicked hospitals and rest homes are short staffed buildings do not get built that is why immegrants are needed . It is a story from all 1st World countries were people do not want to do certain jobs no matter how much they pay .

      • What sort of new business are migrants creating, because a lot of small businesses are on wage subsidies as takeaway, cafe, hospitality or business not paying any taxes or underpaying staff as ‘sole’ directors in construction https://www.nbr.co.nz/story/auckland-construction-company-fined-2000-using-illegal-migrant-labour…. the problem with bums on seats in NZ, is that the skilled migrants are leaving to OZ, and the unskilled and cash workers are staying in NZ… if they commit crimes in OZ they are deported back to NZ as 501’s… easy to see this is not going to work out long term to NZ as we are being repopulated by the worst types… no statistics are kept (deliberately or incompetently it seems) on why NZ migration seems so problematic…

        Neoliberalism is giving everyone a degree in our new bums on seats universities while those graduating increasingly can’t do the job properly, while in a similar participation trophy approach, we are allowing any migrant who can’t meet the criteria for permanent stays (aka they don’t earn enough, don’t have the right skills, are not law abiding) to be allowed to stay anyway in NZ, to the detriment of good sense and long term stability and prosperity in NZ.

        Problem is neoliberalism. AKA shortage of truck drivers. This is due to low wages, poor conditions, lack of training and lack of recognition of experienced drivers. If they paid the drivers $50 p/h then they would get people off the dole and other careers and into this one. They don’t want to do that, instead the managers seem to be doing very well for themselves https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/crypto-heist-raiders-steal-safe-containing-4m-in-cryptocurrency-from-westmere-home/PI3L5LMS6PCSVABJDYSW5O4YGA/ while they ‘can’t’ get workers on $22 p/h and then import them into NZ, then the taxpayers pay for the top ups of working for families and give them residency. Once they get residency, they will leave this jobs too for exactly the same reasons. Meanwhile many other youth in NZ could have been trained into this career if there was proper wages and conditions! Instead they are on the dole, getting in trouble, or what have you!

        • The other issue for migrants is that the NZ immigration has become about money and so migrants that don’t meet the criteria are ‘advised’ by immigration advisors and lawyers that by creating a lengthy process, they will eventually obtain residency. People traffickers are bringing in thousands of workers who don’t speak English and are paying for the job/visa.

          All these cases involve years of appeals and documentation that puts a lot of money into the hands of immigrate lawyers and advisors while being very expensive for the NZ immigration department and taxpayers ….

          Many migrants who do not qualify for NZ residency just refuse to leave and after dodging leaving for decades in some situations, are given leave to stay in NZ on the basis they are depressed if they leave and have their life here. This is creating more fire for this harassment approach ti NZ residency, creating a situation of more following the same tactics.

          The problem with this is, that honest migrants who generally meet the criteria get huge waiting times as the backlog of other ‘problem’ applications take over! Most of the migrants I know do their own applications and they are the doctors and workers paying tax, who will qualify and not doing anything dodgy under the covers.

          The first thing government need to do to free up immigration is to make sure that those on appeal are forced to do it outside NZ – and clean up the immigration advisors and lawyers with much higher regulation.

          The other day an article about a ‘successful’ immigration barrister who refused along with his wife to put in a NZ tax return for 16 years. What message is that sending to their migrant clients and the wider legal and immigration community? Don’t follow the rules and profit!

      • I’ve certainly done a variety of jobs that some people people may find distasteful, demeaning or just too hard, because I’ve been paid appropriately. I’ve also turned down companies who’ve tried screw over workers by offering $275/day for a job that would pay me $500/day. Money isn’t everything but if you’re paying peanuts, I’d rather stay home & sleep in my own bed, than slave away in the middle of nowhere, knowing I was being screwed over by a bunch of assholes. Money is a powerful motivator and when employers announce that they can’t find workers, they almost always fail to complete the sentence with “willing to work for what we are currently paying”.

  9. It doesn’t …it just floods labor market with labour supply depressing wages and opportunities for born kiwis plus it’s an end run around the limitation on immigration numbers now the NZF is currently out of picture. Also raises another 165000 potential voters and homeowner More pressure on housing/infrastructure …but I guess Labour hopes to get a chunk of their votes as a counterweight to the 5% vote boost the Nats got from their imported Chinese voters. Still wedded to neo-liberal baked in structural unemployment of 5% & the DCC God of infinite Growth.

      • Yep, CrimzonGhost and Keepcalmcarryon

        I can’t work out how normal folks go and live in other countries on temp permits and don’t expect to stay, but somehow in NZ, the media and woke think that the NZ government owes someone a living and free ride.

      • I wonder where they plan to build New Hamilton, considering that the population of Hamilton is roughly how many people are now eligible for this new pathway to residency? Lucky New Zealand’s infrastructure was built with this level of growth in mind. Yeah right.

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