Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Immigration changes

Well, the government has managed to ram its immigration changes through Parliament under urgency, before anybody had a serious chance to object. Which was precisely the point, I suspect. The changes are manifestly unfair in the way that they've slammed the door in the face of thousands of prospective migrants part-way through the process, but it's worse than that. We've now moved from a relatively open system to an opaque one where decisions are made essentially in secret by immigration officials, with no right of review. Worse, the certainty formerly enjoyed by prospective migrants - "if you have this many points, you can live here" - has vanished. The new ranking system means that whether you're let in or not will essentially depend on who else has applied this month, and the number of points "required" will fluctuate depending on how many people they're "inviting". And they expect employers to make firm job offers when they can't even be sure their prospective employee will be able to show up for the job?

All in all, a retrograde step, and not a day when we can be proud to be New Zealanders.