Saturday, November 27

Migrant students say they feel cheated by the residence visa decision

People who missed one of the 165,000 residency visas are cursing their bad luck for not having the correct visa on the correct day.

Approved visa and passport stamped on top view of a document in Immigration

Photo: 123RF

Students who finish their PhD and have highly paid job offers say they feel punished for studying, as even a low-skilled job would have qualified many of them for [

the one-off permanent residence announced last week.]

Among those who also feel aggrieved are those who still work for New Zealand companies abroad, and with valid visas, but who are excluded from the generosity of the immigration announcement because they could not be in the country due to border restrictions.

A man who has worked in New Zealand for a decade is among those excluded from single-residence visas, lost for four days.

Vijay Bans’ work visa expired the weekend before the government announced that anyone eligible on September 30 could settle permanently.

His wife has just finished a health care course and works in a nursing home, but their student visa does not qualify them for residency.

Hamilton’s father-of-two said he’s surprised that after being in the country for 11 years, his family has been lost.

“We have no medical records, no police records, everything is fine, we are a normal family,” he said. “It is totally unfair, we are in shock, people in New Zealand for the last three years are eligible, and people like me, who have been working in this country for more than a decade, get nothing.”

It was even more irritating when he won an appeal in court last year because Immigration New Zealand (INZ) had incorrectly assessed his residency application for skilled immigrants.

But when an appeals court overturned the decision and sent it back to INZ, he had been fired.

Vijay Bans with his wife Nidhi Arora and their children Nevyn and Raynav Bans

Vijay Bans with his wife, Nidhi Arora, and their children Nevyn and Raynav Bans.
Photo: Supplied

Lishuang Qi worked in hospitality on the South Island for four years, but returned to university last November to become an early education teacher.

She feels cheated that her decision to invest in retraining in a skills shortage field has cost her a fast path to residency.

“I spent all the tuition fees here during the pandemic, and now I have been punished,” Qi said. “If I had continued my job, working as a receptionist or maybe I could just be a dishwasher somewhere in a restaurant, I would have been granted residency.

“I felt so bad when I saw the ad. There are many of us who are screaming for justice or fairness. I chose to study more because I can be an early childhood teacher who is always on a shortage list. It has worked for me not good now, it’s so unfair “.

Many people expressed frustration at the lack of details about the criteria and timeframes for obtaining residency, if they are not eligible for the single visa.

Juliana Reu Junqueira is finishing her doctorate specializing in flood risk management, with a scholarship from the University of Waikato, and her husband presented an expression of interest in the skilled migrant residency (SMC) last March as an architecture technician. .

As a ‘partner of a student’ visa, you are not among the 165,000 people who will settle permanently by the end of next year. His wife has yet to start a new job as an environmental planner, and the students are not eligible for the single visa student visa.

“We are really frustrated and disappointed, working so hard and we have done everything right,” he said.

“My husband has been working in a highly skilled occupation, earning over $ 27 an hour, and we put forth our expression of interest and have been waiting patiently since March of last year.

“Unfortunately, I think New Zealand can lose a lot of good people. We love New Zealand, but we will have to consider other options if there is no way to get residency here.”

“If you read the immigration website, there are several advantages of doing the PhD here; one of them was that when you finish your PhD, you don’t even need to have a job offer to apply for residency as long as you have enough points, so it is a very good way to get residency. But suddenly it’s not. “

Juliana Reu Junqueira, her husband Gilberto, children Pedro, 9, and Mateus, 6

Juliana Reu Junqueira, her husband Gilberto, their children Pedro, 9, and Mateus, 6.
Photo: Supplied

Others were unlucky with the date of the government’s decision, including a man who switched from a work visa to a student visa days before the announcement.

Immigration consultant Brandon Han said his clients included master’s students who had previously held work visas or would soon have graduated with post-study work visas. “Are they supposed to be penalized for their learning or their further learning? It’s not logical,” he said.

Graduates trapped abroad

The roughly 5,000 post-study work visa holders who stayed abroad due to border restrictions found that they would not qualify either.

“Are we throwing away their tertiary grades, which they got in New Zealand, simply because they took an unfortunate vacation abroad last summer?” Han said.

“In contrast, his former classmates are celebrating this early Christmas gift. These work visa holders are formally trained graduates who completed their tertiary education after years in New Zealand, and are now facing discriminatory treatment.”

“Under the new resident visa policy, they missed this cake, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to settle in New Zealand with their valuable knowledge.”

Sonu Pival is one of those who was unable to obtain a residence visa at the border, even though he was not on vacation. He finished his master’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2018 in Auckland and had been working in managed isolation facilities until his parents became seriously ill with Covid-19 in India in December.

He rushed back to his home in Mumbai, but was unable to return to New Zealand afterward.

“Because of this pandemic, everything went backwards,” he said. “There is no clear decision, especially about the migrants who are trapped on the high seas. That is why we want the government to at least take care of us and make some decisions, because more than 18 months have already passed.”

They want the single residence visa criteria to be broadened, but if not, they would like their temporary visas to be extended when the borders are reopened.

Some graduates will hold a protest outside the New Zealand embassy in Delhi next month.

As their visas run out, they remain barred from a previous government border waiver for work visa holders who had been caught on the wrong side of the border.

Some still work remotely for New Zealand companies, paying taxes here and still with valid visas.

Wenjuan Zhang traveled to Shanghai in July after his father suffered a brain hemorrhage. Your post-study work visa is valid for another 16 months, but you cannot return, and even if you could, you will not be eligible for the single residence visa.

He applied for humanitarian border waivers when his father recovered, to return to his partner and to work in New Zealand.

“I was informed that my father’s life was at risk and I made the decision to travel to China to support his recovery,” he said. “This decision was not made lightly in the given circumstances, but also in the hope of compassionate support from the New Zealand immigration office to support my return.

“I have worked for New Zealand companies without interruption since February 2020, even working remotely now, earning more than $ 27 per hour. However, I am not eligible to apply because I am physically abroad.”

It has started a petition, one of the few started since last Thursday’s announcement, which attracted a total of more than 20,000 signatures, in a call for the residency criteria to be reconsidered.

Explore other visa options – Return

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said in a statement that people who are not eligible for the new residence path will need to explore other visa options if they want to stay in New Zealand permanently, such as SMC.

“They can also apply for the new two-year Essential Skills visa if they are paid below the median salary,” he said.

“Currently, the government does not intend to extend post-study work visas for those who are abroad. This is in line with the approach we have taken with other temporary visas where plans were interrupted by Covid- 19, as these people only intended to stay in New Zealand temporarily and circumstances may have changed by the time the borders are reopened.

“People who have gained valuable qualifications by studying in New Zealand, and have been gaining useful work experience abroad, can apply for work visas when borders are reopened if they have the skills New Zealand needs.”

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