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Nine Indian students are currently seeking sanctuary in Auckland Unitary Church after their appeal to Immigration New Zealand to stay in the country was denied. The students face deportation due to the Indian-based education agents, whom they used to facilitate studying in New Zealand, submitted fraudulent documents. Are these students victims, and is their deportation justified?
— question asked on February 8.
These students have come to New Zealand for the reputation that we have for providing quality education, and the fact that things have gotten to the point where they have been forced to take sanctuary in a church is unacceptable.
There is no clear evidence that the students have done wrong. It is the agents who have done wrong, while it is the students who are being punished. The National-led government has allowed this industry to get out of control, and it is the Immigration Minister who has failed these students, and New Zealand, by not exercising any compassion or common sense in rejecting their appeals.
As said by Labour’s Spokesperson for Immigration, Iain Lees-Galloway: “The students should simply have their applications assessed on the merits with those eligible being able to stay. It’s about time we had a government that offers compassion and natural justice.”
— Mohan Nana-Ahirao
Young Nats — Lower North Island
The National Party is very proudly the only major political party that is committed to an open economy which embraces free trade and migration. We believe that New Zealand’s future lies in being an open, confident, and diverse nation that competes on the world stage.
Immigration levels have been at a record high under this government because we believe that migrants fill vital skills shortages we need to grow the economy, and that they enrich our society. This openness must always be balanced against looking out for our national security. Our laws protect our immigration system from abuses and we need to let Immigration New Zealand do its job in delivering a fair outcome for these students.
We can’t know all the facts of this case but we do know that New Zealand proudly welcomes deserving immigrants who follow the right process, and Immigration New Zealand’s decision will reflect this.
— William Lewis
Greens at Vic
The Indian students facing deportation have been scapegoated by the National-led government. They were victims of an immigration scam by their agents in India who provided fraudulent documents without their knowledge, which Immigration New Zealand failed to pick up on.
Rather than making the agents or tertiary institutions accountable, they are deporting the students to appear tough on immigration. Further, there have been cases where migrant students and workers have been granted amnesty under similar circumstances.
Our immigration system should be based on manaakitanga and treating people fairly, not on exploitation. We need to stop a poorly funded, profit driven, tertiary sector reliant on luring in international students with false prospects, and regulate immigration agencies better. The deportation is unjustified, and they should be granted justice and allowed to stay.
— Liz Gaiduch and Elliot Crossan
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