House of Representatives Committees

Contents


Foreword
Membership of the Committee
Membership of the Delegation
Visit objectives
List of abbreviations

Chapter 1 Overview
Chapter 2 Immigration related issues
Appendix A: Program

Foreword

Australia and New Zealand have a close and cooperative relationship. The relationship between the two countries at a government-to-government level, for example, is well developed and extensive. Ministers and government officials from both countries regularly participate in meetings on a wide range of issues. Australia and New Zealand also have close economic and trade ties. New Zealand is now Australia’s fifth largest market, while Australia is New Zealand’s principal trading partner. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders also cross the Tasman each year as tourists, for business purposes or to visit family members.

Against this background of cooperation and strong linkages between the two countries, I was honoured to lead the Joint Standing Committee on Migration delegation to New Zealand in August 2006 as part of the annual Committee Exchange program between the two parliaments . The delegation took the opportunity to examine New Zealand’s skilled migration program, as well as its overseas skills recognition process.

This report provides some background on the program assembled for the visit and a brief comparative overview of migration arrangements in Australia and New Zealand. Over the course of the visit, several immigration related issues emerged that were of interest to the delegation. The report concludes with a discussion on these key points of interest.

The visit to New Zealand was particularly timely given that, at the time , the Committee was finalising its inquiry into overseas skills recognition, upgrading and licensing. The terms of reference for the inquiry required the Committee to ‘consider how Australia’s arrangements compare with those of other major immigration countries’. New Zealand was one of the countries under examination.

The Committee concluded its report, Negotiating the Maze: Review of Arrangements for Overseas Skills Recognition, Upgrading and Licensing, shortly after visiting New Zealand. The report was tabled in Parliament in September 2006.

The delegation program was a busy and interesting one, providing a balance between formal meetings, and informal discussions and inspections. This provided us with an excellent overview of New Zealand’s migration system. On behalf of the delegation, I would like to thank the New Zealand Parliament and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of New Zealand, the Hon Margaret Wilson MP, for the hospitality extended to the delegation. Our visit coincided with a sitting week in the New Zealand Parliament and this provided us with a great opportunity to observe parliament in session.

I would also like to thank the New Zealand parliamentarians, government and non-government officials, and peak ethnic groups with whom we met for the time they took to ensure that the delegation was well informed. Particular thanks go to our counterpart committees in New Zealand—the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee and the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee . The delegation very much appreciated the briefing they received from both committees.

The Parliamentary Relations Office of the Australian Parliament coordinated arrangements in their usual efficient and professional way. In New Zealand, the high quality of support provided during our visit by Ms Ruth Delaney, Visit Manager, Department of Internal Affairs, was much appreciated. The Australian High Commission in New Zealand also provided support over the course of the visit, and our thanks go to His Excellency Mr John Dauth, Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand.

Finally, I thank the other members of the delegation—Senator Linda Kirk, the Deputy Leader of the delegation; Mr Laurie Ferguson MP; and Senator Stephen Parry—for their active and constructive contribution to the delegation.

Don Randall MP

Chair

Membership of the Committee

Chair

Mr Don Randall MP

 

Deputy Chair

Senator Linda Kirk

 

Members

Senator Andrew Bartlett

 

 

Senator Alan Eggleston

 

 

Senator Stephen Parry

 

 

Mr Laurie Ferguson MP

 

 

Mrs Julia Irwin MP

 

 

Mr Michael Keenan MP

 

 

Hon Dr Carmen Lawrence MP

 

 

Dr Andrew Southcott MP

 

Membership of the Delegation

Leader

Mr Don Randall MP

 

Deputy Leader

Senator Linda Kirk

 

Members

Mr Laurie Ferguson MP

 

 

Senator Stephen Parry

 

Delegation Secretary

Dr Kate Sullivan

 

Visit objectives

At the time of the delegation visit to New Zealand in August 2006 by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration , the Committee was finalising its inquiry into overseas skills recognition, upgrading and licensing. The terms of reference for the inquiry required the Committee to ‘consider how Australia’s arrangements compare with those of other major immigration countries’. One of the countries under examination was New Zealand.

The Committee had received evidence about New Zealand policy and procedures in the area of skills recognition and welcomed the opportunity to supplement this with discussions with the relevant New Zealand ministers, parliamentary committees, and government and non-government officials.

Australia and New Zealand both face considerable skills shortages, and with the high degree of economic integration between the two economies and high rates of cross-Tasman migration, the Committee welcomed the opportunity to examine the New Zealand skilled migration program in detail. The New Zealand Government announced changes to its skilled migration program in December 2005 and had recently commenced a review of the New Zealand Immigration Act 1987. In February 2006 the New Zealand Minister of Immigration also announced a nationwide initiative, Settlement Support New Zealand, aimed at providing improved settlement assistance to migrants and refugees. These were all issues of direct relevance to the work of the Committee.

The Committee was also interested in pursuing the following matters with its New Zealand counterparts:

The Committee concluded its report, Negotiating the Maze: Review of Arrangements for Overseas Skills Recognition, Upgrading and Licensing,1 a few weeks after visiting New Zealand.

Chapter 6 of the Committee’s report provides an overview of how Australia’s skills recognition arrangements compare with those of other major immigration countries, including New Zealand. The section on New Zealand in the report incorporated some of the Committee’s observations as a result of the visit.

List of abbreviations

DIMA

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

DRT

Deportation Review Tribunal

EOI

Expression of Interest 

ESOL

English for Speakers of Other Languages

IELTS

International English Language Testing System

INZ

Immigration New Zealand

ISSL

Immediate Skill Shortage List 

LisNZ

Longitudinal Immigration Survey: New Zealand

LTSSL

Long Term Skill Shortage List 

MRT

Migration Review Tribunal

NZQA

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

RMS

Refugee and Migrant Service

RRA

Removal Review Authority

RRB

Residence Review Board

RRT

Refugee Review Tribunal

RSAA

Refugee Status Appeals Authority

UNHCR

United Nations High Commission for Refugees

 


Footnotes

1 Joint Standing Committee on Migration, Negotiating the Maze: Review of Arrangements for Overseas Skills Recognition, Upgrading and Licensing, Commonwealth of Australia, September 2006. Back

Print Preliminary Page (PDF 100KB) < - Report Home  : Chapter 1 - >

Back to top

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print