i have no particular insights to offer this evening, so will share from an email posted to AEN regarding work permits. the email gives notice of a public meeting to be held on 30 may, 10am to 12pm, at windy ridge school, seaview road, glenfield, auckland. the meeting is in response to the following news item:
“Mr Coleman said there would not be new temporary migrants coming in as no new permits would be issued, and temporary permit holders would not have their permits renewed.”
---- Plan to slash permits worries migrants, New Zealand Herald, 6 Apr 2009
This issue has impact to the 130,000 work permits issued to migrants by Immigration New Zealand in 2007-2008. In fact, some migrants are already affected because Migrant Action Trust has been receiving calls from distressed migrants (on work permit) then made redundant and unable to find another job in the present economic climate. Worst affected are those who were recruited off-shore, have now been made redundant and also unable to find another job.
The objective of this meeting is to find solutions to the issues faced by migrants during the current global financial crisis and to discuss other areas of concern unique to migrants.
To get the most out of this forum, we invite community leaders, migrants who are not attached to a group and the media to send issues of concern and relevant recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before 15th of May 2009. If you wish to speak on your item, also let us know.
in related news, i heard helen kelly, president of the council of trade unions, on checkpoint tonight. she appeared to be calling for reduced numbers of permanent migrants in order to deal with growing unemployment. this was played as part of a story about economist philip legraine, who believes cutting immigration is wrong during a recession.
on the one hand, it makes sense in that we don't want an extra bunch of people coming into the country with no work and become a "burden". but on the other hand, these new migrants increase demand and therefore economic activity. and as mr legraine points out, they bring a range of experiences, contacts and skills that are a positive addition.
cutbacks in a recession are generally a pretty bad idea, as they tend to lead to a downward spiral. it would be much better to focus on job creation - something this government is failing spectacularly to do - rather than on cutting immigration. if you want to grow the economy, you need to increase activity and the government is the best place to do that.
or at least they would have been, if they hadn't just spent $1.5 billion dollars in tax cuts that are highly unlikely to stimulate the economy - simply because they aren't reaching the majority of the population.