The noted campaigner against the very idea of something called “sex work” being a legitimate form of work, Julie Bindel, has such power! For it was only 6 days ago that, in The Guardian, she told us that New Zealand – a place which, Ptah!, has legal prostitution – had sex work as a reason why someone might be able to gain a visa. Now, only that 6 days later, possibly less given international date lines and all that, we find that this is no longer so.
Now it would appear that the New Zealand immigration service has added “sex work” (as prostitution is increasingly described) to the list of “employment skills” for those wishing to migrate. According to information on Immigration NZ’s (INZ) website, prostitution appears on the “skilled employment” list, but not the “skill shortage” list.
Ms Bindel needs only to mention in a minor newspaper and lo, the law is changed on the other side of the world!
Immigration New Zealand has removed sex workers or escorts from its skilled employment list checker online.
The agency’s area manager Stephanie Greathead said the removal of the listing from its list was to “avoid further confusion” that people could get a visa as skilled prostitutes.
The website had previously indicated that sex work/escort is a skilled employment and applicants could claim points if they were paid at or above $36.44 per hour, had a recognised qualification or at least three years of relevant work experience.
It defined a sex worker or escort as someone who provided clients with sexual services or social companionship.
Ain’t that great?
Of course it’s not quite as impressive as it sounds. Ms. Bindel has been known, ever so occasionally, to misunderstand the world around her. New Zealand Immigration continues to explain:
“INZ does not grant visas to persons who are intending to provide commercial sexual services,” Greathead said.
“This is in line with the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 that states that only New Zealand citizens and residents can legally work in the sex industry. ”
Sex worker/escort is on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list which appeared on the INZ website.
“INZ has no control over the occupations included on this list,” Greathead said.
“INZ has removed this occupation from our Skill Shortage List checker to avoid any further confusion that means we would approve a visa for this occupation.”
Ah, right. Tarts couldn’t get a visa for New Zealand on the basis of their being tarts going to work in a legal industry.
Any government that allows the decriminalisation of pimping and sex-buying sends a message to its citizens that women are vessels for male sexual consumption. If prostitution is “work”, will states create training programmes for girls to perform the “best oral sex” for sex buyers? Instead of including prostitution as a so-called option in its immigration policies, New Zealand should investigate the harms, including sexual violence, that women in prostitution endure.
If prostitution is “sex work”, then by its own logic, rape is merely theft. The inside of a woman’s body should never be viewed as a workplace.
That New Zealand doesn’t, and never has, included prostitution as an option in its immigration system won’t matter, won’t make a difference. There is outrage to be expressed and the specific details don’t matter, do they? Amazing how these campaigners against the evils of the world seem immune to the realities of that world, isn’t it?