We often hear ‘horror stories’ from our clients, of how they or someone they know being left high and dry by some immigration agents.
There are then reports appearing in the press of someone being charged with fraud.
Every time, I hear or read such reports, my heart goes out to victims. This is because, like most others in our community, I also arrived in New Zealand as a migrant to pursue my dream and establish a progressive family.
Like a majority of people in the immigration business, I believe in carrying on my work and profession with honesty, accountability and transparency. I, like many others, derive satisfaction in seeing someone smile, in knowing that I have been able to stabilise the job and status of a person so that they can also follow a dream, just as I did.
However, the moral compass differs between people.
The questions that arise are, “What is my intention in taking a certain action?” What is the motivating factor? Am I doing the right thing by looking after my interest alone? What if the other person is victimised by my actions?
What emerges would depend on the mind-set of the person; whether it is motivated by self-interest and benefit or that of service and assistance.
The mind-set stems from one’s belief. It is the belief in which we exist as individuals.
Simply put, it would be ‘You or Me’ as against ‘You and Me,’ there being no correlation between action and reaction.
Should we not believe that we are a part of a whole, interconnected, and therefore, one’s action is not in isolation of the other; and that every action would have an effect on someone, somewhere somehow?
Another’s joy is mine, another’s despair is mine, in a higher sense there is no distinction.
This result in a response that wants to empower and uplift, not take and discard.
This conversation is sometimes difficult to engage in because one may not like the insights gained; self-deception can set in as an inevitable result.
Constant self-vigilance is required, because one slip can have disastrous consequences on a person or an entire family.
In this day and age of consumerism and pressures to fund a certain lifestyle can be a challenge, which in some cases becomes the motivating factor. It is the same old conflict of interest- whether ends should justify the means or means can justify the end.
Constant introspection is important in immigration practice. This is because an immigration adviser or an immigration lawyer may be dealing with a person or a family who are vulnerable and desperate, willing to achieve their objective at any cost.
Some of them are pushed so far that they would borrow monies from any possible source to pay an immigration adviser or lawyer.
Is this ethical and moral? Recent cases of ghost advisers, lawyers and licensed advisers who have been struck off the official registers with their practicing certificates cancelled should make all of us realise the importance of honesty and truth. Preying on the vulnerable cannot give a good sleep – that is always my measure!
Our profession can be soul satisfying as we provide a rescue mission. We are also instrumental in making that migration journey easier and assist many into their new country.
It is the unethical actions of a few that bring disrepute to this profession, creating a wrong perception about our bona fides. It can be all consuming at times, while on some other occasions, it could be a thankless job.
What keeps us going is the positive difference that we make in the lives of people.
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 Indian Newslink. Readers can send their comments to email@example.com