The International Indian Students’ Issue

Immigration must cancel deportation order
Kamil Lakshman – 

The current Indian international student (IIS) debacle has had a predictable political response – a punitive approach.

We are at a tipping point of IIS issues.

Many such disasters are in the pipeline but in different forms, however all leading with the IIS category eventually being victimised including by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) using policy control or interpretation of policy mechanism to do so.

I frame it as the IIS bashing.

Vigilance is needed or unfair administrative practices could result in discriminatory practices.

Lucrative platform

The international student market has thus far provided a lucrative platform; many are benefiting including the New Zealand economy.

That outcome however should not be at the expense of another, as in the IIS case.

The onshore issues range from migrant exploitation to off shore issues such as student recruitment exploitation where false promises are made.

To facilitate export education and boost numbers, overseas student recruiters were exempted from the licensing regime with government’s blessing despite protest.

In some cases, the institutions can be paying a recruitment fee of anything from 15% -50% of the fees. The incentive to find as many students as possible is great.

Selling dreams

The current INZ policy framework assists with promises made to potential IIS which helps with selling the New Zealand residence dream to them by student recruiters.

INZ has a trusted partnership relationship with the student recruitment industry.

INZ accepts their applications from people enjoying this status (criteria based on a percentage of past successful student visa applications) at face value and does not verify them.

Onshore private training establishments have sprung up like mushrooms, some credible players being scarred by their deceptive counterparts with questionable practices for whom New Zealand’s vision for education of providing ‘world class education’ is a foreign concept.

Destroying future

The pattern involves IIS being affected resulting in the lives of hundreds, mainly youngsters, being destroyed. This beautiful country of milk and honey is collecting bad Karma, whether one believes in it or not.

In such cases, IIS money is being accepted and IIS are left to the ‘wolves’ in whatever guise they come, divorced from responsibility.

Given this, where may I ask is the moral and ethical accountability?

Has our moral compass stopped working? Have we gone so far away from doing the right thing? Where is our obligation?

The case of Filipinos

Last year, INZ via immigration instructions (WK1.11), Essential Skills Visas for Filipino dairy workers were approved, although they had provided false documents submitted by their agents in their previous work visa applications.

INZ policy stated that this industry was very important hence this stance.

Precedent shows an exception has already been made.

Surely, IIS is of value to New Zealand.

I ask that this privilege be awarded to IIS affected by the provision of fraudulent documentation by their agents; that their deportation proceedings be cancelled; that the loud voice of protest be heard; that the sematic problem in the design be addressed, and the real culprits be held accountable, allowing for a proactive approach as opposed to the ongoing reactive saga that has been played out.

In the spirit of Diwali, given the context, a new beginning is justified.

Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year to you!

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:; 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) to

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