Give Kiwis easier dole but limit migration, says federal MP Kelvin Thomson
A FEDERAL MP has called for New Zealand migrants to be given easier access to the dole and other benefits, but with a catch.
Maverick Victorian Labor MP Kelvin Thomson said there would have to be an annual limit on Kiwi migration, otherwise Australia would face a huge influx of jobless people from across the Tasman.
NZ citizens now have unlimited access to live in Australia but those coming now must wait at least 10 years before getting the dole and sickness benefits under a rule introduced in 2001.
More than 600,000 Kiwis, or about 10 per cent of the NZ population, live permanently here, with some 300,000 barred from accessing welfare.
Recent reports said that many were jobless and struggling to make ends meet, with calls for all NZ citizens to be given more rights since they are settled here.
Mr Thomson said that Kiwis should be given permanent residence and welfare entitlements, but only if the trans-Tasman migration agreement was changed to cap annual numbers at between 30,000 to 40,000 people.
Mr Thomson said that his solution was fair because NZ citizens would have more security here and Australia would regain control of its migration program.
Monash University population expert Dr Bob Birrell agreed with changing the welfare entitlements but said the Federal Government should force would-be NZ migrants to apply for permanent residence like others.
"It's a one-way flow, there is only a tiny minority of Australians in NZ, the justification for this policy has long since evaporated" he said.
Dr Birrell said the problem was that Australia had no control over the type of people arriving from NZ, such as those with poor skills who would struggle to find work.
At least this politician recognizes the kiwi problem. He's worked out the main motivation of kiwis seeking permanent residency...Benefits and taxpayer handouts.
Whilst a cap on immigration from across the Tasman is a good start, they really need to reign in the open access to an application process. (Tourist visa or apply for residency FROM new zealand before leaving.