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The Government’s woeful inertia on implementing its immigration policy took a farcical turn today with an admission it is considering allowing individuals unlawfully in New Zealand to stay if they have construction skills, National Party Immigration Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“The Minister confirmed in Parliament today that he and the Minister of Housing were discussing with officials putting a pause on deporting individuals unlawfully in New Zealand who have construction skills, saying it was amongst ideas being considered,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“The contrast with their policy is stark. Labour stated for years that the previous Government was not doing enough to place New Zealanders into work and that net migration should be reduced.

“Now we learn that not only has there been no action to implement immigration policy, but that they are actively considering allowing over-stayers to stay in New Zealand if they have construction skills.

“This is an admission that not only was Labour’s campaign pledge unworkable, but that the situation is so urgent that they are considering granting over-stayers some form of amnesty.   

“Prior to the election Labour said it would introduce changes to reduce net migration by 20,000 to 30,000 people every year, while NZ First said it would cut numbers by 60,000. Since that time Minister and the Prime Minister have given many ambiguous responses as to what their policy is.

“While not arbitrarily reducing visa numbers would be one broken promise regional New Zealand would actually welcome, there is still confusion amongst employers about what the Government’s policy actually is.

“With the Government’s immigration policy constantly shifting, there is no way of knowing what their policy really is. It’s time for the Minister to front up and give New Zealanders a real answer.”

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