Saturday, December 4

PhD students excluded from the ‘unfair and myopic’ residence visa policy

PhD students say it is unfair and shortsighted for the government to exclude them from the new expedited residency policy.

Chara Sun, Soda Liu and their son Enzo

Chara Sun, right (with her husband Soda Liu and son Enzo) is a PhD student in translation studies at the University of Auckland.
Photo: Supplied

They say they are being ignored even though they are highly skilled and have been, or will be, contributing to New Zealand.

Chara Sun is a PhD student in translation studies at the University of Auckland. She lives here with her husband and their six-year-old son Enzo.

Chara Sun's son Zeno Liu in China.

Chara Sun’s son Zeno Liu in China.
Photo: Supplied

When he moved to New Zealand in 2018, his youngest son, who is now four years old, stayed with his grandmother in Tianjin, near Beijing.

She had intended to pick up her youngest son from China early last year, but the borders were closed, meaning she would not be able to return to Auckland on a student visa. If I had residency, that would not be a problem.

“When I heard about the policy on the exceptional resident visa, I was very surprised and I think that’s a bit unfair to us,” Sun said.

He did not know when he would be reunited with his youngest son.

“I work in the education sector and my husband [is] working as an essential worker during the lockdown, but we are not included. “

Adrian Ortiz studies physics with a background in data science at the University of Auckland.

He considered applying for residency, but the wait time was about 24 months and he was disappointed that the new policy did not include PhDs.

Ortiz said data science was in demand around the world.

“I have good options to stay in New Zealand, but then for me personally, one of the things I want to have is also the certainty that I can stay, not just like the two years that a contract lasts, and then maybe I just have to get out of the country, but really start planning for the future. “

Ortiz studied on a scholarship and the New Zealand government had paid more than $ 100,000 for his education.

He was briefly involved in a Covid-19 modeling program last year, which won the prime minister’s science award.

“The country has actually said it needs immigrants, so it’s like, why do you say you need immigrants if you’re not even taking care of the ones you already have at the borders? So I think it’s unfair in that sense.” and myopic when it comes to the particular case of doctors or postgraduates, or highly qualified immigrants, ”said Ortiz.

PhD student Wang Junyi is a Board Member of the University of Auckland. He said a petition calling for residency for doctoral students had hundreds of signatures from the country’s eight universities and the number was growing rapidly.

Johnnie Wang, a doctoral student at the University of Auckland, says that not allowing students in will not only harm the country's economy but also its academic future.

PhD student Wang Junyi.
Photo: Supplied

“They make or have made active and lasting contributions, not only to their field of study, but also to New Zealand’s reputation as an innovative and research-led nation, not to mention the contribution they could make to New Zealand’s industries. “

Wang said that, unlike other student visa holders, PhD students are often considered members of the staff.

Not including them in the single residency scheme could send an unfriendly signal, which can affect student productivity and future postdoctoral recruitment, he said.

“The motivations and productivity of our current PhD candidates who work and study at the university, if they feel that the government does not recognize their value, I am very concerned about their productivity.”

A spokesman for the immigration minister said in a statement that the minister, Kris Faafoi, was not considering extending the already broad criteria for the 2021 resident visa, which was estimated to provide some 165,000 people in New Zealand with a path to New Zealand. home.

“The minister says that people who do not qualify for the 2021 resident visa will still be able to apply for residency through other avenues,” they said.

“The government is also currently conducting a residency configuration review as part of a rebalancing of immigration policy that will seek to target more highly qualified and skilled individuals to work in New Zealand.”

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