Immigration helps to build a stronger economy and create jobs by encouraging innovation, deepening our links with international markets, and providing the skills and capital we need for growth.
As a New Zealander of Indian descent, I support National’s decisions in immigration as they fit well with the core values of our community – safety, security and prosperity. I believe coming to live in New Zealand is a true privilege, and not a right.
Recently there has been a lot of incorrect information about the immigration changes announced by the Government in May this year. I would like to take this opportunity to correct some of that scaremongering and explain the importance of these changes.
New immigration family policies will help New Zealand attract and retain skilled migrants from India, and from all over the world.
They will also ensure that our family members can settle well and are self-sufficient. These changes don’t mean you have to be rich and famous, they give deliberate priority to people who can contribute to society rather than rely on taxpayers.
Here are the facts: many skilled migrants who have residence here can continue to sponsor their parents, in fact, they will receive quicker decision with less red tape.
The changes mean that applications from parents who have higher income sponsors, or who bring a guaranteed income or funds with them, will be processed faster than other applications.
We’re also removing the “centre of gravity” test for all applications under the tier one option. It is important that we help applicants settle into their life in New Zealand well.
We want to encourage self-sufficiency in New Zealand, and that’s why those whose English is poor will need to pre-purchase tuition.
Around 3500 parents of migrants are approved for residence each year. It costs the New Zealand taxpayers to support many of them, especially because of their access to benefits including our publicly funded healthcare.
By ensuring New Zealand attracts the best people, it is expected that our changes will eventually save the taxpayer around $40 million a year.
Immigration plays a critical part in National’s plan to build a brighter future. That’s why we’re making changes to give priority to migrants who can make a real contribution to New Zealand.
Further information on the changes is available here: www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/general /generalinformation/news/familycategorychanges
•Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is a National Party MP