A temporary hold on deportations of nine Indian students is a step in the right direction but the Government urgently needs to implement safeguards to stop further injustices to more international students, the Green Party said today.
Immigration NZ has indicated that deportation orders will not be served till February 22 while it considers a request for the students to leave voluntarily. The students India-based education agents used fake documents to secure their study visas in New Zealand, and hundreds more students face a similar situation.
“These students have been duped by a Government that didn’t provide enough oversight of our international education system,” Green Party immigration spokesperson Denise Roche said.
“For the nine students who have been holed up at the Unitarian Church in Ponsonby, it is good news that the deportation orders have now been lifted.
“These students have been courageous in shining a light on the duplicitous practices that they were exposed to, and their case needs to be a call for changing the lax checks and balances for our international students.
“Even if these students do go back to India, we will fight for them to be able to come back. The cases need to be assessed individually, compassionately, and fairly.
“It is shameful for the education providers that they employ education agents to represent them, but then take no responsibility for what happens to the students.
“The Government needs to step up and take responsibility for its mistakes, by improving oversight of the system and offering better protection for students who are scammed by overseas agents.
“Steven Joyce wants to increase international education in this country by another $2 billion dollars, but his Government is failing in its duty of care to students who are already here.
“We need to provide more oversight for students coming here to study, and this ordeal has shown the urgent need for the Government to license education agents offshore.
“Until the Government changes the system, we will have more students being duped in the name of following a dream to come to New Zealand. It’s not exactly the image that New Zealand internationally prides itself on,” Ms Roche said.