All eyes and ears are on the NZ government’s much awaited announcement on border measures
expected on Thursday 12 August. Will it be music to the ears of thousands of migrants in limbo
– or will it be another long spell of uncertainty and gloom? Indian Weekender’s Navdeep Kaur
Marwah spoke to five immigration experts on what they expect from the announcement.

Alastair McClymont of McClymont & Associates

I see this announcement as a roadmap for what the government is
planning for the next six months with regards to reopening the border.
There may be a timeline for the residents who are stuck offshore. I
hope that the government will give some substantial pathway for
residency for onshore migrants including a timeframe for reopening of
EOIs, but I doubt this will open up until later in the year. Since
three opposition parties have come together, there is lot of pressure
on this government to give long term certainty to migrants who have
the right skills needed by New Zealand, it would be astonishing if the
government continues to ignore demands from across the political
spectrum, employers and unions on this issue. The government should
realize that if high skill migrants including doctors, nurses and
teachers do not see a clear pathway to residence, they are most likely
going to move to other countries and if that happens it is nothing but
disastrous for us as a country.


I am not expecting any major changes. Ever since Covid-19 struck, Immigration is on
hold and so is our border. Our honorable Immigration minister made announcements
about major changes, big overhaul in past but nothing productive comes up after each
announcement. Plea of migrant families to re-unite them goes through deaf ear, New
Zealand employer cries for labor shortage are unheard. We need to strategise our
priorities and balance financial and health and national health criteria.
So, we should let in people who are fully vaccinated, Covid free and have negative test
results as well as New Zealand residents who are stuck overseas due to borders closure,
migrant families who are waiting to be as well as International students and worker who
still hold valid visa. Moreover, temporary visa holder who had left for a short vacation
when our border shut down in March 2020 but are still paying rent here and have their
belongings or family here should be the priority. It’s about fairness, natural justice and
values we uphold hold as Nation.


I hope the government gives a realistic picture and time frame with regards to when the
border is expected to reopen as well as when the residence EOI will be picked up. There
needs to a clear indication and timeframe as this uncertainty is affecting the mental health
of so many migrants, I have so many clients who had their residence lodged as last year
but their files are still in the queue. Don’t understand the reason behind such a backlog.
This government needs to be answerable to migrants who have been tireless working and
contributing to New Zealand’s economy about whether they have any future in New
Zealand. The lives of so many migrants are stuck, and this government now has to give
loads of answer to them.

Sarfraz Shaikh of Immigration Advice NZ Ltd

I expect the government to give priority to reuniting thousands of families that have been
separated because of border restriction. The employers who don’t have people to work
for them are feeling helpless and need to get some indication. The government should be
thinking about students who want to come to New Zealand but the uncertainty is getting
too much to handle. People who have all the points for residence should be made aware
about when the EOI will open. A clear indication of how much more wait is to be done
should be communicated so that people can make up their mind. It is high time the
government thinks about these issues as no migrant would want to be in New Zealand if
they don’t have a clear pathway to residence.

Inderjit Matharu of Angel Immigration Services

This government is only thinking about using migrants to their benefits in sector where
there is acute shortage such as horticulture and healthcare industry. I expect the
government to acknowledge the hard work and skills of migrants who hope to get
residency in New Zealand but in name of Covid they are stuck. The government should
certainly think about residents who are stuck overseas especially in India and they
have no option but to travel to a third country in order to reach their home in New
Zealand. Exceptions should be made for families who are separated and those on open
work visa stuck offshore. I understand that protecting New Zealand against Covid is
important, but the government can’t be playing up with lives and emotions of so many
people in name of Covid. The government has sold their product with the name of ‘Study
to Work’ policy which is not meeting the criteria at the moment. The students
(undergraduates who are stuck offshore) have invested hefty amounts to study in NZ and
should be able to gain Post study open job search work visa. We acknowledge that
Government announced to do online studies but how about their rights for open job
Besides that, the Government should give pathway of residence to the onshore applicants
who have already submitted EOI's into the pool or are eligible to apply for residence
which includes nurses, doctors, engineers, trade workers and many more.