African Migrants Say New Zealand is Racist

Dieuwe de Boer

In Africa, they were accountants and engineers. In New Zealand, they work as hotel maids and security guards.

Research suggests discrimination is a factor in the social freefall African migrants are experiencing on arrival in Auckland.

Back home they were trained professionals and saw New Zealand as a place to further their careers. But their hard-earned qualifications and reputations have no currency here.

Forced into low skill and low pay work, they're left feeling Kiwi employers haven't given them a fair go. Here are some of their stories.

- Stuff

While it's not something I've ever encountered, I've heard this complaint plenty of times, even from European people. I suspect there is a strong culture of nativism in New Zealand business, especially further down south. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, as there should be a priority to employ New Zealand citizens. Immigrants should be allowed in based on what they can offer their new home. The really strange about all of these stories are that none seemed to actually have had work lined up before coming here. Some even seemed to have raked up a lot of debt studying here.

Michael Macdeba is a Doctor of Engineering. He got his PhD in waste management and sustainability from an Auckland university.

His wife is in a similar situation. She was a registered teacher in Nigeria, but her qualifications aren't recognised in New Zealand

Are there a lot of jobs out there for someone with a PhD in "waste management and sustainability"? Is there any reason he didn't study a field with a severe workforce shortage and virtually guaranteed job availability? The teacher situation, on the other hand, sounds completely normal. I've even heard it from American expats. Our requirements for them all to re-study probably isn't helping our teacher shortage.

The next story is much the same: another couple who moved over here without even checking if they could work in their specialised fields:

In Nigeria, Bala was an electrical engineer with a Master's degree. Joy was an accountant.

On arrival in Auckland, although they had working visas, they found they weren't certified to work in New Zealand. While trying to become registered, they had to turn elsewhere to support their young family.

It's not their fault though, as a different African migrant schools us, it's just because New Zealand employers are racist.

They just assume that I'm a refugee and therefore English is an issue. Yet it is not. Most of the employers hide behind English language proficiency, yet they're actually displaying racist attitudes.

That sounds like a winning attitude to me: if you can't get a job, be a victim.


About the author

Dieuwe de Boer

Editor of Right Minds NZ, columnist at The BFD, and Secretary General for the New Conservatives. Follow me on Telegram and Twitter. In addition to writing about conservative politics and reactionary thought, I like books, gardening, biking, tech, reformed theology, beauty, and tradition.