Barry Soper: Are we a dumping ground for foreigners' unwanted parents?

By Barry Soper

Has Winston Peters been proved right about immigration? Photo / Andrew Warner
Has Winston Peters been proved right about immigration? Photo / Andrew Warner

Brexit had a lot to do with it and so has the popularity, against all odds, of Donald Trump in the United States.

People around the world are becoming more concerned about their jobs going to people who've contributed nothing to their country but are willing to work for less and go anywhere in a new land.

The arguments around immigration are well rehearsed and they've always been forcefully put by our own Winston Peters, who reckons we're becoming the dumping ground for unwanted parents, who've been brought in by their kids with permanent residency, who then clear off leaving mum and dad to care for themselves.

Peters says the Beehive's treating taxpayers as gullible mugs who're easily fobbed off by a system that wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else in the world.

So does he have a point?

Well, conceivably these parents could be in their 40s and 50s and who could otherwise be refused entry because they don't have the required skill set to come into the country in their own right.

Some of their kids have gone to Australia, where, with their Kiwi citizenship, they're entitled to live, leaving their parents behind because at least they'll be looked after by our health and welfare system which wouldn't be the case across the ditch.

Six months ago, the Herald got figures under the Official Information Act showing 3000 kids have taken off, leaving their parents behind while almost 23,000 "sponsoring" kids were still in the country - but whether they're caring for their charges no one seems to know.

And immigration rules say that if most of a parent's children are living here then they're entitled to have them join them.

Of course, that means that with China's now recently defunct one child policy, most Chinese qualify as a parent sponsor.

It's not surprising then that China is the largest source country, at around 50 per cent, of those approved under the parent category.

Goodness only knows what the figures are now.

It seems the Beehive's finally heard the dog whistle being blown by Peters and is for the next two years halving parent reunification and tightening up on the skills required before they qualify to come into the country.

While they're at it they should be looking at the student visas that allows those studying here to work and ultimately get residency.

With election year looming there's plenty of puff left in Peters on this one.

Barry Soper is the Political Editor for Newstalk ZB

- Newstalk ZB

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