Another victim of Immigration discrimination speaks out

Venkat Raman

A young woman, with a mountain of debts and a cancer-affected father back home in India is on the verge of being kicked out of the country by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) unless Immigration Minister Chief Ombudsman hears her case and dispenses justice.

We cannot reveal her identity, for, the woman is petrified that she would be evicted even before she and her lawyer have had a chance to know what and why things went wrong.

We will call her Bharathi.

She stands on the precipice of uncertainty betrayed by a system and a few people who have tried to extort money, and worse, sex.

Unfair Stamp of Fraud

INZ has stamped her as ‘Fraud’ and posted on their computer without proper investigation and without providing her an opportunity to explain. The unilateral decision, it has been alleged, was taken by INZ because ‘somebody informed them so.’

We would like to know as to when INZ has started listening to rumours or allegations and victimise applicants, without following appropriate procedures.

The young woman, came to New Zealand in 2016.

“My passion to work for people and their wellbeing was the driving force for me to pursue Post Graduation from one of the prestigious universities of New Zealand. Life was perfect, my tenure in the university was absolutely life changing. Working and studying with people from different countries and cultures made me more adaptive and prepared me for the diverse kiwi work force. It was a dream come true,” Bharathi told Indian Newslink.

But she underestimated the job market. Every employer wanted ‘New Zealand experience,’ wanted references and a ‘manager under whom she had worked.’

As a student, she had none of these.

It was then that the cruel aspect of human beings hit her.

Demand for sex and money

An elderly person, also a person of Indian origin, told Bharathi that he had ‘connections’ with the Health Ministry. He wanted her to ‘pretend that she is his partner’ so that he could get INZ to issue a ‘Permanent Resident Visa.’ She declined saying that she was in a genuine relationship with her partner from India.

“Although I stopped seeing or talking to him, he approached me through another person saying that he can arrange, through an employer, a Work Visa for three years on payment of $40,000. These two incidents have left me to think the job market here in New Zealand is corrupt and very unfair. How do I get New Zealand work experience if I am not able to secure a job in the first place?” Bharathi said.

“My future is at stake just because someone called Immigration with false information. INZ is welcome to scrutinise and comb through my IRD/Pay Slips/Bank statements or any other documents to verify my claims but they have chosen to believe the person who has accused me of fraud,” she added.

Hardship and loans in India

Bharathi said that her financial situation in India is pathetic. She has a student loan of about $42,000, her house is on mortgage, her father is undergoing expensive treatment for a pre-cancerous condition and there is general gloom in her life.

She has a job offer from an international company based in Auckland but without a proper legal status, she cannot be employed.

Unfair and Unjust

“I think that it is very unfair. It is very hard to get a job here in this country. When you finally get one, your struggle to get a work visa seems to be never ending. I am fighting for my work visa since March. I am sure many of us are going through this struggle, but I have chosen to bring this exploitation to the public,” Bharathi said.

Indian Newslink has spoken to the Immigration Lawyer handling Bharathi’s case, a lawyer with a reputation to bring justice to victims of INZ’s unfair decisions.

This is a test case for the fairness and openness that the Labour government has promised to New Zealanders and to international students.

We hope the Immigration Minister and the Chief Ombudsman order a thorough examination of Bharathi’s case and reinstate the fair image of New Zealand.

Additional Reading under Homelink and our Leader under Viewlink.

Picture Courtesy; Auckland International Airport Website

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