A campaign to cure migration ills

We are happy that Wellington lawyer Kamil Lakshman is launching a campaign to highlight and cleanse the dirt that appears to be a permanent resident of the immigration circus. While by and large Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and its officials are free of corruption, the rot seems to emanate from the immediate circle of victims themselves.

The Campaign will hopefully highlight why there are so many malpractices rampant among the members of the Indian community and why the system is being misused and abused. Reader response to the efforts of Mrs Lakshman will determine if there is a sincere desire among victims to receive justice and the community to help them, and if there is a need to amend the Immigration Act to make way for more deterrent punishment.

Much would however depend on the willingness of the victims to name the perpetrators so that they can be brought to justice.

It is however important not to lose sight of the fact that corruption always has two sides, just like the proverbial coin. The giver is as much a perpetrator as the taker is, and it takes two to tango. Without one, the other would not exist.

That said, the Government should also revisit some provisions of its immigration policy, where the root of problems is well entrenched. The ‘Work-to-Residence’ Visa for instance, is not only flawed but also grossly obnoxious. It is unfair to subject an applicant who is ‘invited by INZ’ (after accepting his or her Expression of Interest) to medical reports, substantial expenditure and time (often more than two years) to further uncertainty by insisting that they should obtain a job in the first instance and then apply again for resident visa.

Employers in New Zealand, including Government departments (for that matter INZ) will not offer employment to those without permanent residence. Placed in Catch 22, it is only natural that applicants resort to every which way possible to obtain a job offer and gain INZ approval.

We are told that the ‘Work to Residence’ is rarely applied to applicants in other countries.

The Government should make up its mind, take an appropriate stand and apply its policies and regulations to all applicants in all countries.

We appreciate that migration is not a right but a privilege and that New Zealand must choose the migrants it wants and not cater to those who want to come here.

We will follow and report Mrs Lakshman’s campaign with abiding interest; because immigration will never cease to be an area of importance. In our anxiety to fulfil targets, we should not open the floodgates of migrants. Such a move has the potential to submerge us into deeper problems.

We do need migrants, but not at any cost.

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