Principle lawyer at NZIL  Aaron Martin, weighs in on the recent comments in the media from Michael Woodhouse about a suggested amnesty for illegal construction workers.

The criticism by National Party spokesman for Immigration, Michael Woodhouse, of the current Minister for possibly looking at an amnesty is cynical political points scoring of the worst order.

There is a job that needs doing Mr Woodhouse because your lot never got around to doing it: building more houses.

So, if the Minister has started being “innovative” in trying to get the skills needed to get the job done, it’s because the national interest demands it.

You can be rest assured the fine folk at Immigration New Zealand will be advising the Minister about the risks.

But let’s not forget Mr Woodhouse – a lot of these people were in New Zealand illegally on your watch as Minister.

If you are worried about New Zealanders missing out on work or jobs or being out done on price, then the issue is about adherence to labour laws by the companies who use the labour. The ring leaders of these scams are often New Zealanders (resident or citizen) who take advantage of someone with skills who has no visa.

Why shouldn’t we as a country use the skill and ensure labour market rates and conditions are adhered to by granting visas to those who have the skills we need? In a sense an amnesty solves several issues quite neatly.

Before taking such a sanctimonious position on this Mr Woodhouse give credit for Mr Lees- Galloway for thinking outside the square about how we get a job done that desperately needs doing. Why not just ask: does the idea have merit? And move the conversation to a more constructive level.

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