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Amnesty for overstayers sends the wrong message

PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 26 September 2023 -

Amnesty for overstayers sends the wrong message

Labour's plan to grant a blanket amnesty for overstayers is a bad policy and a slap in the face for thousands of migrants who have followed the rules, National’s spokesperson for Immigration Erica Stanford says.

“National does not support an amnesty for up to twenty thousand overstayers who have lived in New Zealand illegally for more than ten years.

“Past experiences show that this policy will increase the number of migrants illegally overstaying their visa as they see the potential for future amnesties, and it will undermine the integrity of our immigration system that relies on rules being followed.

“Just last month Immigration Minister Andrew Little told Parliament exactly that saying, ‘we have to think about the signal that we're giving to people if they think, oh, gee, this is a government that just routinely gives amnesties; if we stick around long enough, we'll be OK.’

“Labour appears to be sharply divided on overstayers with Mr Little being reported as saying ‘we won't be doing those things’ just a few weeks ago.

“It is also unclear how this amnesty relates to the Dawn Raid apology when it applies to all overstayers regardless of ethnicity and three previous amnesties have been granted since 1987 including one in 2000 for well-settled overstayers.

“Labour's priorities in immigration are completely back to front and instead of rewarding up to 20,000 illegal migrants, we should be rewarding the majority of migrants who have played by the rules and done the right thing.

“National's priority in immigration is attracting the skilled migrants New Zealand needs to build a stronger economy that lifts incomes and provides better public services like health and education.

“In the past few weeks alone National has announced immigration policies to plug our skill shortages in sectors like tourism and agriculture, kickstart our international education sector and boost our tech sector by attracting the world's top tech talent to New Zealand.

“National will also make it easier for parents and grandparents of migrants to reconnect with their family in New Zealand by introducing the Parent Visa Boost a multiple entry five year visa with renewal possible for a further five years.”


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