Did this column make you go huh?
The nine Indian students who are facing deportation for visa fraud and are living temporarily in a Church in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby.
What a position they’re in, and what a position Immigration New Zealand is in, too, writes Rachel Smalley.
The students signed their visa applications and in doing so, they signed fraudulent documents filled out by their agents. They paid those agents in India to help them to apply for a New Zealand visa, and it is the agents – they say – who are at fault here.
…all good so far right? Pretty standard appraisal of the position these students find themselves in, but then it kinda all goes off the rails pretty quick…
Not so. It is they who are at fault and whether it’s knowingly or unknowingly, the students have committed fraud.
…whoa, what? These students have been duped by a corrupt visa system that the Government knows about and benefits from, but according to Rachel, it’s all the students fault?
It then goes into this weird self involved tangent to justify why she blames the students…
I have been through a similar process. I married a South African in London and when our son was one, we moved to New Zealand.
It was all quite sudden. I had a week until I was on-air hosting Nightline on TV3 and I was trying to find somewhere to live, so I employed an agent to look after my husband’s visa.
You have to jump through a lot of hoops to get a resident’s visa… in our case, we had to prove our marriage wasn’t a sham, both of us needed police checks from the British Police and in my husband’s case, from South Africa too. He needed full medicals, authenticated birth certificates, proof that we’d lived together for some time… you name it, we needed it. And that’s why I used an agent.
And when we came to sign that final application, it stated very clearly that a signature was verification that everything in that application true and correct. It doesn’t matter if you’ve used an agent – it is you, the applicant, who is liable if anything is incorrect. And I remember spending a lot of time going through that visa application because if Immigration New Zealand finds something wrong with it, you can find yourself on pretty shaky ground.
…so as a privileged middle class professional white woman, Rachel was a bit put out by all the stresses in her jet setting life and had to really check the forms she was signing?
Ummmm. Ok Rach, but that doesn’t equate to dumping on these students who have been tricked.
Not according to Rachel…
So while I have some compassion for the plight of these students, the law is the law. Their applications are fraudulent. They cannot be allowed to stay in this country. Imagine the precedent that would set? They can leave the country by their own free will, or be forcefully deported. If police have to enter that church and forcefully deport them, then so be it.
…and just when this couldn’t get any more charmless and graceless, Rachel decides to have a go at the Church for helping these students?
And I also question the role of the Church in this. The Unitarian Church. These nine students are not asylum seekers. They are not going to face political or religious persecution if they return to India. Their lives are not at risk so quite why the Church has stepped in here is a little baffling. The Church is sheltering illegal immigrants who have committed fraud. That is not the role of The Church. That is not, in my opinion, God’s work.
…I don’t even know where to begin with this. The church is showing this thing called ‘compassion’ Rachel, it seems to be a word and concept you have almost zero understanding of.
The cherry on this shit cake is her final words…
Police, in the end, will likely have to forcefully deport them. I suspect they’ll do it at night when the TV cameras and the media aren’t around – but that is the only acceptable outcome in this. There is no other option but deportation.
…wow. Just. Wow.
Look we can all agree that the visa scams that are operating out of India are a disgrace and we need to close this loophole that promises citizenship if you get a work visa or student visa here. The international education sector is an unregulated wild west that has kept real scrutiny and regulation at bay and is part of the governments open immigration policy to keep the property bubble afloat.
We can acknowledge all of that AND STILL have some compassion for the position these scammed Indian Students find themselves in and we should call to have a stay of deportation and do all we can to help and assist these guys WHILE closing down the loopholes that exploited them.
Taking ones own middle classed privilege and then using that as a cookie-cutter for complex issues is something Mike Hosking does, it is sad to see someone who is usually far more intelligent and reasonable falling into the same trap.
Rachel Smalley is a better journalist and commentator than this.