In the last week we have heard a great deal about the Indian students who are facing deportation because immigration advisors in their home country had provided fraudulent information to get them study visas for New Zealand.
Some of these students are near the completion of their studies, and all of them have paid tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege to study here. Last year the Minister of Immigration intervened when hundreds of Filipino dairy workers were found to have entered the country under another visa scam, and most of them remained in the country.
These two separate cases point to poor Government oversight of overseas immigration consultants, who often charge their clients premium fees and trade in false and fraudulent information to assist them.
Yesterday I asked the Minister of Immigration a few questions in the House to see if he would intervene in the case of the Indian students. I asked him if he was intending to deport any of the Indian international students who have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous immigration advisors – and he basically blamed the students.
I also asked him if, given their action to help the Filipino dairy workers, he would do the right thing by the Indian students. He answered along the lines that the cases were very different, so I take that as a no.
My final question was whether he would advocate for the students to get a refund on the thousands of dollars they have spent on course fees. His heartless response was basically that it wasn’t his problem.
The Greens believe that everyone is entitled to fair treatment. And while the government wants to treat international students as cash-cows to prop up the economy, we believe that they deserve a quality education which is good value for money. We believe the government has a duty of care for our international students. They should intervene to support these Indian students who have found themselves in this situation because of the dodgy dealings of unscrupulous immigration advisers.