Clean community image better than rich coffers
There are two recent immigration trends that worry me.
It is becoming better known that some recent arrivals have brought traits with them that are undesirable. Unfortunately, these overshadow the many skilled and highly acclaimed people who have become part of the New Zealand scene.
This has given the migrant community a bad image. Everyone is painted with the same brush.
Immigration is a changing landscape. This needs to be acknowledged so that established community groups can respond appropriately.
The difficulty is that some of these community groups have already have a large presence. They become insular and do not realise the need or value in being part of the bigger community. They do not understand the New Zealand way of life or the New Zealand psyche.
Some migrants bring some undesirable traits with them. As an established community we do not want them. Their presence is disturbing and unsettling.
This aspect of the migrant scene has worried me the most. It has a potential of spilling into the mainstream, risking transparency and integrity.
New Zealand is known as a kind country. It looks after its people through a welfare system for the deserving and a pension scheme for senior residents. A number of charitable organisations supplement or complement government efforts.
If we are to preserve the New Zealand ethos, we must be vigilant. This is our responsibility. As we have seen elsewhere, it does not take much to tip the balance.
Often, exploitation of some sections of the migrant population arises out of hunger for increased foreign students. Our marketing strategy in countries such as India has worked successfully. Thousands of students come to New Zealand to obtain management qualifications.
Unscrupulous operators have been dangling the carrot of an easy pathway to residence. The ignorant and the vulnerable have been easy prey. Many students believe that permanent residence here is guaranteed before they even leave their home country. Those who do not have the ‘luxury’ of this guarantee believe that they can somehow manage on arrival or upon completion of their education.
Many of these students have their dreams shattered. They become targets for unscrupulous operators.
Such situations would not arise if our immigration regime has a sound strategy in place.
However, the income from international students has blurred our vision. Places at our institutions are ‘sold’ to potential students as a pathway to residence.
This strategy may have been successful in the past but not any more. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has tightened its regulations. Education is no longer a certain pathway to residence.
However, international students, especially those from India, are not made aware of the stricter immigration regime.
There is an obvious disconnect here. The situation should not be allowed to continue. It can harm the image of our education institutions, INZ and New Zealand.
None of us want the confidence in our country eroded.