New Zealand international student recruitment and immigration policies
The power of intention, thoughts, words and actions can translate into belief, if a breeding ground exists.
Words can seem like clichés, like titles of best-selling books, yet they also have the power to for wars to be waged in their name: the likes of Hitler have lead others to commit atrocities, the likes of Gandhi have lead others to the path of freedom.
Your thoughts have the power to influence others; they can cause a snow-ball effect.
Fashion is a good example; your way of dressing, your appearance, can grab the imagination of another. With appropriate positioning, your “look” can become the norm, even creating an opening for a lucrative business venture.
The unthinkable becomes the acceptable
Culture and social norms adapt and change. An idea is introduced that has the power to influence, causing a change, a move along a spectrum of unacceptability to acceptability. In other words, ‘it catches fire.’
Snowballing belief can also create an unhealthy underbelly to migration and lead to migrant exploitation.
The process of migrant exploitation in New Zealand
One such idea fast taking hold in New Zealand is that of migrant exploitation. Examples can be seen in the migrant community: one migrant exploiting another for financial gain.
In some cases, the exploited migrant is complicit, while in other cases the exploited migrant has no choice.
Sometimes the migrant that has been exploited, in turn has the potential to become the exploiter of another once he or she gets the opportunity.
What is being taught is that this way of engaging is the norm.
A breeding ground for exploitation
In New Zealand a breeding ground for migrant exploitation has been cultivated. How so?
This has happened because our current model of international student recruitment and immigration policies. The model may achieve the education outcomes; to provide educational qualifications. It may even achieve the immigration objectives which include positive economic and settlement outcomes for migrants to New Zealand, but it has the potential for dubious social outcomes.
Dubious social outcomes may mean that some migrants pay for jobs, work for no pay or provide fictitious documentation to gain New Zealand residence.
For some companies, such dubious methods are deemed critical for survival. This is how a competitive advantage is gained.
Related residency outcomes
Education stakeholders may insist that an education outcome is distinct from an immigration outcome, but in reality, there is no distinction. The two are interrelated and come as a package. That is what is being bought. If the education pathway does not lead to a resident visa, then for some, there is no point in gaining that qualification.
Education is not being seen as an end in itself. It is being viewed as a means to this end. Why? The policy framework settings enable the package to be sold in this manner. It means an educational qualification can be dangled as a means of potential residency.
Time to change current student recruitment and immigration policies?
Thus far we have been attempting to seek solutions by addressing the symptoms. However, there has been no real incentive to tinker with the current student recruitment and immigration policies; nobody has wanted to muck with the educational golden egg in case it stops being golden. Considered holistically, we have had bigger problems to deal with than this often unclear path to residency, but tackling the golden egg is now becoming imperative.
If we are really serious about addressing this issue of migrant exploitation, which in my opinion has the potential of snowballing into the mainstream workplace practices, then the root of the problem has to be addressed and addressed fast. We need to examine New Zealand’s student recruitment and immigration policies.
Otherwise New Zealand will be seeing a very different work place ethos and a developing underworld which may be extremely hard to monitor, police and shut down, despite the penalties in place.
The power to exploit, and the belief it is OK to do so, is manifested because the breeding ground exists.
Do New Zealand’s student recruitment and immigration policies let this happen?