Mike Bell' />

A migrant support group has accused the Government of "taking migrants' money, using their skills and then telling them to bugger off".

Mike Bell, a spokesman for the Move 2 New Zealand Trust, representing mainly migrants from Britain, Europe and South Africa, says migrants not only bring skills and experience to New Zealand, but contribute $8 billion annually to the economy.

He said thousands of migrants who had moved to New Zealand on the promise of permanent work and residency visas were being told to "bugger off".

The Government appeared to be "working hard to sabotage this lucrative source of income by effectively kicking [out] staff that employers badly need", said Mr Bell.

"Worse, this over-reaction to rising unemployment, which is based on poor data, is likely to destroy many more Kiwi jobs than it saves.

"It is totally unethical for this Government to not only turn their backs on a group of people who have made such a strong contribution to the country, but also add to their hardship."

The Christchurch-based group said it was struggling to get anyone from the Government to attend a meeting it was organising on July 8 to try to find a solution.

"We have had interest from local politicians and Labour MPs, and the only reply we have received from National was fromthe Associate Minister for Immigration, which was less than favourable," said MrBell.

"We just want to understand the extent of the problem and discuss possible solutions, but it seems the Government is not interested."

The meeting follows the release of a report last week by the Skilled Migrant Information and Resource Centre that warned of "an emerging situation affecting potentially thousands of law-abiding and productive skilled workers".

The report said Immigration New Zealand last year issued 130,462 temporary work permits and 46,077 permanent residents permits.

"The current national situation is extremely serious but not yet widely understood .. This position will quickly become unmanageable, with significant costs for this country and huge negative national and international press coverage."

Meanwhile, the Migrant Action Trust says it is disappointed that it could not get to meet Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman before July 9.

Trust spokeswoman Agnes Granada said: "If the Immigration Bill, which is now before Parliament, is passed before the meeting, then it defeats the whole purpose of the meeting."

The global recession has seen a lot of Kiwis returning to New Zealand but Employment Minister Paula Bennett said more than one in nine, or 3000 of the 26,000 who returned last year, had ended up on the unemployment benefit.