Lincoln Tan has written another excellent article about the problems that migrants are having finding work in New Zealand during the present tough economic climate.
According to Mr Tan an academic says that businesses often eliminate Asian sounding applicants at a very early stage in the interview selection process.
Surely that is racial discrimination?:
“Desperate job-seeking Asians are not only taking on Anglicised first names but also officially ditching their traditional surnames for European-sounding ones in the hope that will help them find work in New Zealand.
One Chinese woman even changed her name to Brenda Jones in an attempt to get a job interview in the tough economic climate.
About 21,000, or 9.2 per cent, of the Asian population are without jobs, and experts say their foreign-sounding names have contributed to their unemployment woes.
Massey University researcher Paul Spoonley says New Zealand employers, especially in small and medium-sized businesses, tend to eliminate Asian applicants very early in the process through surname discrimination…”
But surprisingly it’s not just Asian people that feel under pressure to change their names in order to get jobs:
“Since March last year, 2029 immigrants have registered to change their names, with the top five countries of origin being Samoa (291), China (264), India (152), Iraq (98) and Malaysia (97).
Although Samoans topped the department’s name-change register, the Weekend Herald understands many of these were to add chiefly titles rather than adopt Anglicised names.”
He goes on to say that one woman had been advised by Work and Income to change her last name to make herself more employable:
“[A migrant] who changed her surname from Teoh to May with an English first name, said a job interviewer at Work and Income advised her to do so.
She told me that with an Asian surname, employers will automatically think that I cannot speak English,” said Miss May, a former retail manager.
A University of Auckland School of Business survey in 2005 found anti-Asian discrimination to be significant among employers.
It found that even without immigration status consideration, having a Chinese or Indian name significantly raised chances of being considered unsuitable…”
But migrants have to pass English Language tests before being granted work visas so where does this ‘perception’ come from that they can’t speak English, or is there another reason for weeding out people from certain countries?
The article finishes off with the confirmation that in New Zealand it is illegal to refuse someone a job on the basis of the ethnicity or race. But how often do you hear about prosecutions being brought for throwing out CVs , perhaps someone should be monitoring the proportion of foreign sounding applicants that make it through to the interview stage with some employers? How many prosecutions are brought every year for this?
“Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says it is unlawful under the Human Rights Act to refuse immigrants a job or an interview because of their ethnicity or race.
“It takes away someone’s chance to be judged on their merits and it goes against the idea of New Zealand as a fair society.”
Is New Zealand a fair society? for some it would appear not to be, not at all. How many westerners would feel the need to change their name to get a job in New Zealand?
The report has already been picked up in blogs in Asia: