Editorial - Wednesday, June 3. A second chance for immigrants

AUSTRALIA has always been the land of the fair go and in a local context Coffs Harbour has proven a model regional community for refugee resettlement.

The State Government's announcement this week that asylum seekers can willingly settle in regional areas to work on local farms may bring with it positive aspects for local industry.

With reports a few years ago that blueberry farms were struggling to hire pickers willing to work underneath the blueberry nets in the summer sun, the alternative to localised labour quickly became backpackers and international visitors on 457 visas.

The Safe Haven Enterprise Visa program offering five-year visas to asylum seekers working or studying outside of Sydney has to be taken on its merits as a forward-thinking policy.

Regardless of the claims of queue jumping and illegal migration, many of these people who have endured lengthy periods in detention have longed for a second chance in life and here it may be.

Given the city's success as a refugee resettlement area, this surely can only be viewed as a novel idea and a temporary solution to one of the country's most complex political issues. Email your thoughts to editor@coffscoastadvocate.com.au.

- Matt Deans, Editor

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