Auckland (Kanwalpreet Kaur)- NZ Punjabi News communicated with the Minister of the Immigration office earlier this month. Further to the Minister's response, our correspondent Kanwalpreet Kaur conversed with the Green MP and spokesperson for Immigration, Ricardo March, for his views.
Since the temporary visa holders have been stuck offshore for a long time, there has been no update. Green MP, Ricardo March, said the Government should use all the powers available to support migrants stuck offshore. This needs to include further extensions to their visas until it is safe to come back, per the powers granted by the Immigration COVID-19 Response Act. We urge the Government to also explore issuing replacement visas as Australia has done. We closed our borders to keep COVID-19 out, not migrants.
For international students stuck offshore, he said, "we need to honour the sacrifices students have made. For many international students, taking a degree is part of them being able to participate in work and subsequently access residency. Before we review our immigration settings, we need to ensure that temporary visa holders are looked after."
The Government said it would consider an amnesty for overstayers as part of their review of immigration settings. We believe the time to do this is now. People who have overstayed their visas are more at risk of exploitation and are not able to fully participate in our communities in the middle of a global crisis. We need to acknowledge we created a system that leads many people without genuine pathways to residency through no fault of their own. The Government's apology to people affected by the Dawn Raids needs to be backed by meaningful action to support current overstayers, says Ricardo March, Green MP.