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A dairy farm owner and former employer of migrant workers says workers from overseas should have a return ticket home before being granted work visas in New Zealand.
Mid Canterbury farming leader Dean McConnell said New Zealand was "soft" in this regard.
International immigration protocols in many other countries required applicants for work permits to have their fare home already paid.
New Zealand did not, he said.
Mr McConnell emphasised his views were not aimed at any particular group or ethnicity.
It was more a comment on the New Zealand system, which could burden taxpayers with fares unfairly.
"I have been concerned at reports in the last two to three weeks that because of layoffs caused by the recession Immigration has said to the worker: `well, you haven't got a job now so you are required to go home'.
"But the worker didn't have the ability to buy a ticket to get home.
"Now in other countries when a worker applies for a work permit they are required to own a ticket out of the country before they get in," Mr McConnell said.
He said if the taxpayer had to pay the displaced worker's fare home it placed an unfair burden on this country.
Immigration New Zealand does not list a pre-paid airfare home as a requirement of entry for foreign workers.