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Deportation of Indian students shows need for a rule change

An Ombudsman’s report released last week shows our deportation rules aren’t working, especially for eight Indian students who were deported last year, says CTU Vice-president Rachel Mackintosh.

The report concluded that our law did allow for deportation of the students because of “fraudulent” paperwork, even when they committed that “fraud” unknowingly and were powerless actors in an international student system designed in the interests of unlicensed agents, private training establishments and the New Zealand economy.

“Eight Indian students – who were members of Unite union – were victims of that system,” says Mackintosh. “First we need to show compassion to those students and lift the deportation orders that will prevent them from returning to complete a year of study.”

“From there, we need to realise the Government must change the rules for international students, and end a system that has led to the most vulnerable migrant students and workers having their reputations and lives shredded, while the agents who falsified documents continue to operate in India, the private training establishments in New Zealand continue to receive Indian students and our Government continues to receive the revenue generated by the industry.”

The eight students sought sanctuary at the Auckland Unitarian Church in February 2017 – supported by unions, churches, community groups and politicians from Labour, Greens and New Zealand First – before being deported three weeks later.

“The politicians who visited and spent time with them recognised they were victims of an unjust system,” says Mackintosh, “but, just a couple of weeks later, they were still deported.”

Las week the CTU made its submission to MBIE’s consultation on immigration settings for international students. That submission can be seen here.