MP's support cheers overstayer advocates
4:00AM Wednesday Aug 26, 2009
By Lincoln Tan

Migrant support groups seeking amnesty for unemployed overstayers say they are encouraged by support from National MP Jackie Blue.

Migrant Action Trust is organising a second public forum to find a solution to the plight of out-of-work migrant workers after Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman turned down suggestions the group made in a position paper after the first forum in May.

Dr Blue, who is chairwoman of the caucus committee for immigration and labour, told the Diversity Forum in Wellington on Sunday she would be asking Dr Coleman to "be more flexible" in his approach to migrant workers.

"We will be coming out of the recession in the not-too-distant future, and we want to keep our migrant workforce here, and not send them home," said Dr Blue.

Immigration New Zealand says there are about 188,000 migrant workers on work permits, with 38,349 under the labour tested category.

Many are not able to renew their permits because employers who want to continue employing a migrant worker must show that no New Zealanders are available, and the recession has meant greater availability of locals.

More here.