United Nations General Assembly: International Migration Review Forum

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Permanent Representative, H.E. Ms. Carolyn Schwalger

Thank you Chair,

Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to the effective implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Since it was finalised, we have seen the role of the Compact in improving global migration outcomes. It has strengthened international cooperation to address irregular migration, while fostering and incentivising regular migration.

New Zealand welcomes the Compact as a State-led approach to migration that upholds the human rights and wellbeing of migrants and their families, while promoting inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.

The Compact plays an important role in encouraging good practice in regular migration. It complements national laws and policies, and makes clear the sovereign right of each country to manage its borders.

New Zealand greatly appreciates that the Compact encourages further cooperation to dismantle human trafficking and people smuggling syndicates, and to reduce the social, economic, and political drivers that lead to irregular migration. We welcome that the Compact recognises climate change as a potential driver of migration.

New Zealand’s domestic approach to the implementation of the Compact has focused on ensuring clear pathways for regular migration, including to facilitate sustainable economic growth, family reunification, and for humanitarian responses, including in Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine.

We remain focused on addressing temporary migrant worker exploitation. New Zealand is strengthening our immigration system, supporting migrants to report and leave exploitative situations and ensuring we have a fit-for-purpose enforcement regime, as part of a Government-wide initiative to combat all forms of exploitation.

New Zealand has also supported global and regional efforts, for example through the Bali Process and across the Pacific, to stop the abhorrent practices of trafficking in persons and people smuggling. These crimes inflict significant physical and mental harm to victims and cannot be tolerated.

As we have seen, the COVID 19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on migrants, and exacerbated the vulnerabilities they face. The pandemic has underscored the importance of a collective response, and the value of states working together to solve common issues.

The last two years have seen unprecedented challenges to immigration systems around the world. For New Zealand, this meant taking extraordinary measures to protect public health.

While managing these unprecedented public health challenges, we provided support and flexible immigration options for migrants who were in New Zealand over the course of the pandemic. This included extending temporary visas, and providing a one-off pathway to residence for a significant number of temporary workers.

I am pleased to confirm that our borders will fully reopen to all migrants and tourists by the end of July.

Migration is a global issue that requires a global response, and we all have a role in ensuring safe and effective outcomes for migrants, underpinned by the Global Compact.

Thank you.


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