Posted By

Tags

New Forum to address immigration issues

Immigration is an emotional issue, involving people – individuals, families and businesses.

People migrate from a comparatively less developed country to the so-called ‘fully developed countries’ such as Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and US (to mention a few) to brighten their own prospects or to secure better education and career for their children.

There are also people ‘forced’ to flee their motherland either because of an oppressive regime or because they think their lives are in danger. Fiji and Sri Lanka are good examples. In the case of the former, successive military coups forced people to leave, while in the case of the latter, high level of violence and deaths involving Tamilians seeking their own State, led to hundreds of thousands of people settling in other countries.

Thankfully, refugees are accepted as members of our communities and there are several success stories that are truly inspiring.

Persistent discrimination

True, migrants from South Asia, especially India, have had to endure discrimination and isolation; but those days are long gone- legally at least – and we have amidst us many people of Indian origin who are successful entrepreneurs, chief executives, medical practitioners, legal luminaries, chartered accountants and other professionals.

We have an increasing number of students from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (for instance) pursuing higher education. Many of them, if not all, secure jobs following their graduation or post-graduation, get married, settled down and become citizens.

Thereafter a large number of them go across the Tasman and settle down. Few of them become Australian citizens.

New Zealand is an excellent backdoor for such migrants.

That is another story.

It would seem from the above that all is well with our immigration process- a picture so perfect that every pixel has ‘absolute and equal characteristics.’

The converse is true.

Losing battle

Successive Governments have done their best to address such serious cancers as abuse and graft and ‘lesser evils’ of red tape and inaction; but success has largely eluded them.

In recent years, another kind of rot has begun to spread across migration of Indians. The deplorable state covers a gamut of people including students, workers, and permanent residents (prefix each of these with ‘potential’) from India.

In their ‘craze’ to ‘somehow’ gain some kind of visa that would legalise their stay in New Zealand, they become victims of fraud; sometimes willingly.

True cases

Here are a few cases (real names have been concealed to protect their identity) that would give an idea of the state of affairs.

Overseas students

Bharat Kumar is 18 years old and is keen to pursue higher education in New Zealand. Following completion of his course, he applies for a work permit. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) would invariably demand a valid job offer that matches his qualifications. A friend of his friend promises to get an employment contract and collects $5000. Nothing happens for several months. Bharat becomes disparate and of course an overstayer.

Work to Residence

Noor Jaffer is allowed into New Zealand with his family on ‘Work to Residence Visa,’ meaning that he should obtain a job within the next six months (extendable to nine or 12 months) to qualify for permanent residence. He pays $15,000 in addition to ‘genuine payments’ made in India and has been waiting for the past one year.

Family Reunion

Parminder Singh wants to bring his parents to live with him. He has two sisters in Delhi and hence INZ would not consider his application because the ‘Centre of Gravity’ falls on India. He meets a man ‘with connections.’ Money (about $10,000) exchanges hands. In this case, Parminder is successful and his parents have now become citizens.

Lawyer’s Campaign

“Enough is enough. This rot must stop,” says Kamil Lakshman, Lawyer and Principal of the Wellington based Immigration law firm ‘Idest Legal Limited.’

“Fraud has almost become a culture among the members of Indian community in New Zealand. Indians, predominantly from India and Fiji, are subject to unfair, unhealthy and corrupt practices sadly perpetrated mostly by people of Indian origin- be they employers, agents or others – this has gone too far, for too long. I am determined to see the end of the erosion of ethics and honesty.

“I wish to launch a campaign which would ideally include victims, community leaders, immigration advisors, and even those who have never had an unsavoury experience but believe in cleansing the system,” she said.

Good credentials

Mrs Lakshman has impressive qualifications and credentials.

A postgraduate (Masters) in Business Administration and International Management, graduate degrees (BA) in Laws, Arts (majoring in Psychology and Education) and a Diploma in Corporate Management, she was employed in the public sector before establishing her own law firm.

She is the Convenor of the Immigration & Refugee Law Committee of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Law Society and Member, National Committee, Law Reform Issues (Immigration & Refugee Law).

Disclaimer

The opinions that she would express in this newspaper would be her own and not that of Idest Legal Limited, the New Zealand Law Society and its affiliated bodies and committees or Indian Newslink.

Her column will commence in our April 1, 2014 issue.

Read our Editorial, “A campaign to cure migration ills’

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this story

Related Stories

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement