The following is the story of a person who has left New Zealand with a heavy heart. Her name has been held back but she represents the plight of many.
I had just landed in this country that would be my home for at least the next three years.
I was excited and fearful all at the same time. A nice woman met me from the hostel where I was resident.
I told myself, “New Zealand is really beautiful, and the country is bigger than what I had imagined. It was clean and green but you hardly saw people on the streets.”
Land of plenty
It seemed like a prosperous place because the roads were good, the buildings looked new and there were new cars on the road. The people I saw were very serious; they rarely smiled and seemed to wear mostly black clothes.
New Zealand had more sheep than people, there was a good population of cats and the trees were ‘free and fearless,’ talking to each other without human interference. The sacred cows were beautiful, graceful and healthy.
Education was fun and teachers were helpful. Everyone had the opportunity to work hard and rise in life. The only complaint was about the weather; that it is a very cold country and yet central heating was not common.
I also heard that people were prone to Arthritis and Asthma.
It was a proud moment when I received my graduate degree (Bachelor of Science with Neuroscience Major) but it was too expensive to bring my family from my native country to share my joy; instead, I celebrated my achievement with my New Zealand family. While at the University, I was working part time for a franchise.
The firm was a good training ground and my wages, at $13 per hour, was not bad. It helped me to meet my expenses, which I kept to a minimum.
I met some very nice people and made lifelong friends.
But I had to go out into the real big world to get a job. The New Zealand government was good since it gave me a year to find a job. I continued to work at the old firm as I searched for alternative employment that would commensurate my qualification.
I was surprised and disappointed. There were very few openings and everyone wanted New Zealand work experience, which I did not possess.
The feeling that I was not worthy of employment led me to a state of depression.
By now, I really liked New Zealand and wanted to stay. I had a good New Zealand qualification, which gave me the confidence of a bright future.
Time was running out, my one-year deadline was fast approaching and I needed a job relevant to my qualification, without which Immigration New Zealand would not renew my Visa.
I knew a number of friends employed in professions that were different to their educational qualifications. The going rate in their industry was $20,000 to $30,000.
I could not afford to enrol in another course because I could not afford additional cost. My parents had already borrowed heavily to pay for my education and I did not want to burden them any further.
I did not have a girlfriend with whom I could live, sharing expenses.
I was not willing to hoodwink Immigration New Zealand with a fictitious name or false references to have my visa extended.
With no job in sight, and not wanting to overstay or cheat the system, I left New Zealand, which was my home for four years. I was proud of my qualifications, willing to work hard and be a partner in the country’s progress.
I hope that one day New Zealand will realise the plight of people like me and that the country ‘is the real loser,’ with qualified and genuine people not allowed to stay.
Kamil Lakshman is a Lawyer & Principal of Wellington based law firm Idesi Legal Limited. She can be contacted on (04) 4616018 or 021-1598803. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; The opinions expressed in her article above are her own and not that of Idesi Legal Limited or the New Zealand Law Society, or its Wellington Branch, or its affiliated bodies and committees or Indian Newslink. Readers can send their comments (names can be withheld from publication on request) to email@example.com