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Source: Green Party

The Green Party is welcoming changes to the immigration system, but calls on the Government to offer equitable pathways to residency for workers not covered by today’s announcement.

“Immigration settings should prioritise the wellbeing of workers and our communities, not be based solely on what’s best for employers,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for immigration Ricardo Menéndez March. 

Post Study Work Visa holders locked out by COVID

“The issuing of Open Work Visas for previous holders of Post Study Work Visas is a Green win. 

“We raised the realities of offshore stuck migrants and the need for replacement visas in Select Committee, Question Time, and in letters to the Minister.

“Many migrants who had lived in Aotearoa for several years were locked out of the country through no fault of their own. 

“The Greens have been the only party constantly fighting for migrants stuck offshore to have a pathway to come back. 

Changes to residency settings

“Nurses, midwives and teachers have long been told their profession isn’t valued the same as doctors or engineers. These professions have long been locked out of pathways to residency. Today’s announcement goes some way to rectifying this.

“Many migrants have had to remain bound to a single employer in order to access residency. This enables exploitation. 

“These changes mean that nurses and teachers will no longer be bound to a single employer. However, many other workers still are and will be vulnerable to exploitation.

“All public transport users have felt the impacts and disruption of our bus driver shortage. We welcome the decision to develop a new residence pathway through a sector agreement to attract more drivers. 

“But for more reliable and frequent bus services, the Government should be putting bus drivers on the Green List now.

Specific purpose work visas

“The Greens are concerned that many migrants who missed out on the 2021 Resident Visa still have no pathway to residency. 

“It’s great that the Government recognises their essential contributions, so it’s also a shame that the specific purpose work visa does not reflect these contributions by keeping workers on a temporary visa and without certainty. 

“The Greens are calling on the Government to provide a pathway for migrant workers onshore to access residency and fully participate in their communities.