No Promised Resident Visas for International Students
Duped students resort to extreme measures
The incident of an international student from India threatening to commit suicide in the Electorate Office of National Party Member of Parliament, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, is a cry for immigration help and desperation that exists among students.
My predictions, made through my column in Indian Newslink, a speech delivered at the Immigration Law CCH conference, my comments on Radio Tarana, and my weekly Wellington based radio programme ‘Koffee with Kamil,’ are unfortunately coming true.
Most people would now agree that a problem exists. So much so that new measures have been put in place to safeguard international students in New Zealand, such as migrant exploitation legislation, increased labour inspectorate activity and increase in ensuring compliance from businesses. But these are just addressing the symptoms. International students in New Zealand are a source of much foreign revenue for New Zealand and this is predicted to increase, but the way they are being treated here is fraught with problems.
International student visa disconnect
There is a large gap; what the students are sold offshore and what they get when they are here are not the same. Based on promises of Resident Visas for International Students, decisions are made to borrow heavily sell of assets such as property to pursue the dream to move here.
When that dream turns hollow, international students resort to other undesirable methods to stay here, such as paying for jobs that do not exist, marriages of convenience, working in undesirable and exploited conditions; many of which lead to suicidal tendencies and depression.
Misleading resident visa promises
In essence, many international students are sold low-level courses on the pretext that they will gain Resident Visas for International Students at the completion of their course. Most officials are aware of these happenings but there is no will to stop them.
- Why do we allow our international students to suffer?
- Are we so desperate for money that we do not feel responsible to these youngsters?
- Do we really want to be accused of taking blood money?
- Most important of all, how do we stop these unhealthy practices?
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) should also carry at least a part of the blame. The department is known to delay decisions on applications for work visas, resident visas and job search visas. The Department’s decisions declining applications for Resident Visas for International Students, the tone of declining letters sent to applicants and the management of student appeals leave much to be desired.
The difficult stance taken by INZ often drives students to the state as witnessed at Mr Bakshi’s office. There is a need for more consultation with all parties involved, including INZ officials in India and New Zealand, employers and headhunters in New Zealand. Most importantly, there is a need for a regime that would discipline those unscrupulous agents in India and perhaps New Zealand.