Today, a sobering reminder about the downsides of migrant life in New Zealand: the twin dangers of a weak job market combined with insecure work visas often force immigrants out of New Zealand.
Two British miners, brought over to work in west coast coal fields are likely to be deported from New Zealand if they are made redundant from their jobs.
The Greymouth Star ran their story, saying
Two British miners lured to the West Coast with the promise of jobs for life with Solid Energy are now facing redundancy and could be kicked out of New Zealand.
The men are only three months shy of gaining permanent residency, but are barred from taking jobs anywhere else, they said today.
Mark Pointon and Jason Brown emigrated from Yorkshire about 20 months ago. According to the paper, their employer, Solid Energy, is supposed to be helping them out but instead the two men say they’ve been given the runaround.
“All we have heard is that they know about us,” Mr Brown said.
The terms of their visas require them to work for Solid Energy on the West Coast at a salary of more than $55,000. This means they are unable to accept any other jobs and could be forced to leave the country.
Both men have families to support.”
Another downside is the Catch 22 of low salaries, even on the Christchurch rebuild, which aren’t high enough to be eligible for a work visa. i.e. a visa that is needed to be able to work in NZ.
Mr Pointon and Mr Brown have potential job offers with the Christchurch rebuild, with a pay range of $25 to $40 an hour meaning that at the lowest level even if they were allowed to accept the jobs, their salaries could start below the $55,000 minimum. If they are not granted more flexibility with their visas, they could be required to leave.
“It’s maddening,” Mr Pointon said.
“(Solid Energy) are supposed to be this high-flying company.”
We think that their present employer should be legally obliged to find them alternative employment and assist with visas, or bear the full costs of their repatriation in addition to redundancy payments. The men acted in good faith when they emigrated and it’s a disgrace they’ve been let down so badly thousands of miles from home. What else are they to do? They are at the mercy of their employer and the immigration department.
Our other blogs you may be interested in
Despite all the talk about keeping valuable, skilled miners in New Zealand following the explosion and subsequent closure of the Pike River Colliery, a number of immigrants working at the pit have been told they have to leave New Zealand in a few weeks if they don’t find alternative employment. They are already living in New Zealand illegally and say that if they stay on they will be deported.
Shockingly of the 20 migrants, all from ‘western’ countries, including 12 from South Africa, only 2 have managed to attain permanent residency. This case highlights the perilous state that many migrants on work permits find themselves in when they emigrate to New Zealand and how little protection they have when they lose their jobs. It also highlights how dependent New Zealand is on skilled migrant labour and how it fails to retain the people it really needs… read on
Another British Migrant may be Forced to Leave NZ – “It looks as if there is evidence that the colloquially named “Jobs for kiwis” policy may still be being implemented in New Zealand. A highly regarded British employee may be forced to leave the country because his work permit may not be renewed despite his employer being unable to find someone to fill the post…” December 2009
Another Migrant Family Left High and Dry – ” The mum is gainfully employed as a very much needed residential care worker. When she applied for a renewal of her work permit Immigration New Zealand (INZ) “decided not to renew it”. She’s appealing against that decision and INZ been placed her on a visitor’s permit until the outcome is known, this means she can no longer work and is left without an income…” July 2009
Jobs For Kiwis: Skilled Migrants Not Getting a Fair Deal on Work Permit Extensions – “The Motor Trade Association has added its voice to the outcry over the ‘jobs for Kiwis’ policy which has resulted in some migrants being denied work permit renewals, despite holding secure jobs. Many migrants are being told to leave NZ just weeks after their extensions are refused or warned to face the consequences of remaining in the country illegally.” July 2009
Jobs for Kiwis – How it Impacted on an IT Worker – “Just one story of how the “jobs for Kiwis” policy has impacted on the life of a European skilled worker who has lived in NZ for 8 years…”
More on the “jobs for kiwis” policy and INZ shortcomings:
Migrants groups push to end ‘hypocrisy’ – new migrants still arriving but no jobs
Government brain drain explosion – StatsNZ show there’s no brain drain