System ignores the value of migrants

 In immigration

CooperationA blind man and a physically challenged person were once caught in a forest fire. One could not see and the other could not walk and hence both faced the danger of death.

Then they hit upon a plan; the blind would carry the physically challenged man, who guided him out of the fire.

Cooperation and coordination can always be put to positive use and benefit everyone. Sometimes, individual efforts alone will not suffice.

I talk about these twin aspects of human endeavour because they give rise to hope, underpinning good outcome of every effort. An outcome is termed ‘good’ if all parties emerge as winners as opposed to a bad outcome in which only a few gain, marginalising others as victims.

It amazes me when people adopt approaches that are clearly not good for all, especially when equally plausible alternative approaches are available, extending benefits to all key players.

Unfortunate migrant

Take the New Zealand Immigration system for instance. Peter (not his real name) lives in Auckland. He completed two New Zealand qualifications, and held a skilled employment and hence lodged an application for a work visa. He was confident since he thought he had met all the requirements. In fact, his job complied with the criteria specified for skilled employment making his eligible for permanent residence.

However, the Case Officer handling his application at Immigration New Zealand (INZ) decided to return his application, because Peter’s passport was damp and claimed that he could not lodge the application.

Peter became an overstayer.

He was heart-broken. His child, born prematurely in New Zealand had to be hospitalised, with mounting cost of treatment; he was not entitled to free medical facility.

The Compliance Team INZ is after Peter; they want him to leave New Zealand immediately. However, negotiations have stalled this process.

Wet Passport

The question that one has to ask is, “How a wet passport can put a person such as Peter in such a predicament despite his profile – two New Zealand qualifications, a skilled job offer, potential skilled migrant status, and good settlement prospects in New Zealand?”

Are we are missing something here? Where is the common sense in this approach? Where is the attitude that speaks of collaboration?” Why was the potential of Peter to contribute to the progress of New Zealand not considered?

Another victim

Vineeta (not her real name) hails from Punjab, India, where she is a registered nurse.

Bitten by the foreign bug, she was keen to settle down in a country like New Zealand.

She is advised to complete a drug-counseling course with the usual advice: “Go to New Zealand, complete the course after which you will get one-year job search visa and then a two-year graduate work visa. Thereafter, you can apply for Residence.”

With much hope, Vineeta arrives in New Zealand, only to find that a majority of her 100 classmates are dentists, nurses, and medical practitioners from India. As time goes by, she finds that getting a job is not as easy as it was made out to be. In fact, only three persons from her class got a job relevant to their qualification.

Vineeta now works as a caregiver, a noble job but not one of her choice.

Most of her classmates are desperate to find a way to stay in New Zealand, since they were “sold dreams.”

Vineeta visited our offices last week.

Harsh questions

“Why did you not come to New Zealand to just undergo a competency course and commence nursing registration since you have met all other requirements?” I asked her.

She was apparently misled by false information and/or promises. Had she followed the right path, she would have by now become a permanent resident in New Zealand.

Such cases are depressing- imagine all those wasted years and monies.

Steps are underway to rectify the situation of Peter and Vineeta.

I sincerely hope that people coming from overseas, especially India and Fiji, are aware of the realities, make proper inquiries, understand the system and assess the possibilities of achieving their objectives.

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