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Immigrants 
in New
Zealand

 European Immigrants formed the base of what New Zealand is today, and there was a time when immigrants from other cultures were not welcomed. However around 1980, they started to realise that the population of the country was still too small, only just over 3 million.  As well as that, they had very few international relationships, putting at risk the growth of the economy. The solution was found to be opening its doors to immigrants from other nations. The NZ government felt that Asia offered great possibilities of bringing the right people, them being investors, scientist, businessmen, and other people of good social conditions. Because in the end, who would not want to live in the beautiful and safe New Zealand?

What really happened, was instead of bringing the richer and more well off people from Asia, It attracted more those people who were more interested in putting their kids in one of the good free public schools of NZ, and not spend their capital. This favourable immigration towards Asia, provoked racial reactions, and demonstrated the government incompetence in the matter. To fix the problem Parliament changed the system, and only people who passed certain conditions, such as achieved a certain number of points, would be able to immigrate. In a special agreement, the inhabitants of some pacific islands could come to New Zealand without any restrictions. Today around 4% of the population of New Zealand probably are from these islands, and Auckland is considered the Polynesian capital of Oceania.

The Politics of Immigration was changed so that today basically two categories exist. The first is for investors who bring financial resources, and the other is for people experienced and qualified in certain functions. All you need to do is to do a simple calculation of how much you have invested in education and then add your work experience and you will see you are worth quite a bit. For New Zealand to receive young qualified, and with work experience, and for free, it is all that NZ ever dreamt of. So NZ started to select who could become a NZ citizen a little more carefully, choosing only those who would be really able to easily join the employment market, and which could add something to their areas. However the problem then becomes that with such a small population, and with an economy in which 80% of the population earn less then NZ$25,000 a year, there is just not enough jobs for everyone. Even for work and professional in demand, it still does not guarantee the immigrant a job, and It could take a very long time to find the one that they are looking for. Many immigrants, especially from large populated countries such as Brazil or China forget that New Zealand is a small country, and it is not the land of opportunity with a mean of easy money. So for those coming with small amount of savings, the result could be catastrophic, and depressing.

The Language Barrier, is one of the biggest determining factors, and even for an ultra qualified professional, if he/she does not speak English very well, it will be almost impossible to compete in the market. If you were hiring someone would you hire someone that could not speak you language? Because of that, a big part of the new immigrants inevitably suffer and go through great financial problems. With time many are able to improve their English, and although speaking with a strong accent, they are able to speak the right English, which in the end increases their chances of success. However there are those who are never able to speak correct English, and use the right verbs, words etc. For those people the social integration with other NZ becomes very difficult, and words opportunities are becomes limited for those jobs in which spoken English is not necessary and in turn are very well paid jobs. Cleaning and working in the kitchen are example of these types of jobs.  For many immigrants (especially in the initial stage) life just becomes too hard and they return home. Some lucky ones are able to secure a job before leaving their countries of origin. But for most that is not the case, and only the ones that come with a good capital reserve or decent bank account, and who do not depend on having a job to survive, are able to make the transition a little easier and suffer a lot less. The major cities are filled with immigrants from all over the world, some of which have bought and open commercial businesses, which they see as their only option (self employment), or to be Taxi driver. The born and breed New Zealander generally will get the top and better jobs in large organizations and institutions. Of course for those immigrants with a capacity and with a good English they can also get there, but it is not that common and you could probably count on your fingers. Who knows maybe their children will get there.

Discrimination does not exist in theory and in the law, but exists in some form one way or another. Most of the Kiwis are not racist and do not discriminate, and many are just misunderstood by the immigrant, who do not understand that just 50 year before they lived in farms and isolated from the rest of the world and not used to different cultures and different ways of life. The cultural difference and language barriers are the hardest part of the integration. All those things that you were so comfortable with and used to become completely different and strange. It might take some time for the adjustment, but once understood it no longer becomes a problem and you start to get used to that way of living, and see why New Zealand is one of the greatest places to live in the world. 

Immigrant in New Zealand today form 15.8% of the population, with 7.4% coming from Asia, 4.6% from other diverse countries, and 3.8% from the Pacific Islands.

To became an Immigrant in New Zealand, one MUST know how to fish. (Just kidding).

 

 

 

 

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