You work all day, sometimes doing two to three jobs.
You do not differentiate; you will undertake any job, including cleaning toilets, standing for hours at a petrol station, stocking shelves in a supermarket, anything in fact, to earn a living.
You go home with whatever little you have saved.
You eat less so that your children can eat.
You sleep for a few hours and wake up the next day, fatigued but to struggle again.
This is the reality for migrants arriving here every day.
Moving to a new country is difficult; more so, when you cannot speak the language or understand the culture.
Moving to New Zealand is only the start of the migrant struggle.
We have heard stories and we understand, because it was once our reality too.
No matter how far we progress later in our life and career, we can all relate to the struggle that we have gone through as new migrants.
For some, it past memory, for others, it is today’s reality.
The desperation with which many migrants try to secure the legal status to live or work in New Zealand is saddening.
Even more perturbing is the rise in the number of employers asking migrant workers and applicants for resident status to pay for a job offer or support their Immigration application.
Due to the pressure and inability of many to return home without achieving something, they fall a prey to unsavoury characters, paying them hefty sums of money in the hope of securing a job or a ‘false letter,’ as it happens in many cases.
The working conditions that some migrants face are appalling.
They are made to work long hours, with minimal breaks, at low wages.
Due to desperation, many migrants fall into the trap of unscrupulous employers and work and live in preposterous conditions. These helpless persons also provide false information to Immigration New Zealand (INZ), in the foolish belief that they will be granted a permit and allowed to stay in New Zealand.
The result of these job offers or false evidence given to INZ will lead to unfortunate consequences for people without a legal status.
Once character is raised as a concern on an applicant’s record, he or she would face a lifelong problem of wrongdoing and character issues.
Though there are many factors which drive migrants to make false declarations and submitting false documents, these would not mitigate the wrongdoing.
On the other side of the equation, there are many migrants who set a good example.
They are hardworking, abide by the laws and regulations and submit genuine documents and provide correct information to INZ.
These migrants overcome all odds and achieve the results that they deserve.
Migrants should use these diligent forerunners as a model for behaviour and attitude,
If you are such a migrant, you have reason to be proud of what you have accomplished, despite all the problems and challenges.
Your struggle as a migrant is over. You are happy to be where you are now.
But you will never forget where you began.
Serish Khan is a law graduate from the University of Auckland. She is currently working as a Barrister and Solicitor at the Auckland based Khan & Associates, specializing in Immigration, Family and Estate law. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.khans.co.nz