Indian families are marrying their drug-addicted sons to young women and paying for the women’s study here in New Zealand as a pathway to residency for their sons.
Known as ‘IELTS Brides’ – named for one of the International English Language Testing Systems that a student must pass to study abroad – the women are typically educated and able to get student visas to countries such as New Zealand, something that would be impossible for the addicted men.
The men’s families hope the move will help them clean up and remove the stain from their family name, but the young women who enter arranged marriages with them are often trapped in violent relationships and cut off from family at home. With their in-laws paying for education and travel fees, they are then treated like “slaves”.
While Immigration New Zealand said it had not received any complaints about IELTS brides, an investigation by Voices, in conjunction with RNZ education correspondent John Gerritsen uncovered a growing number of such cases in New Zealand.
Organisations working with ethnic communities in New Zealand say it’s a growing concern. One community worker estimated the number of IELTS brides in the country was “at least double figures”.
One of the brides, who we’re calling Khushi to protect her identity, is facing deportation now that her student visa has run out. Her husband’s family filled out the application for her, she said. Immigration New Zealand said some of it was fraudulent.
Khushi desperately wants to see her sick father. She wants to be reunited with her family but said if she goes back then her husband’s family might kill her. I met with Khushi at her home, where the curtains were partially closed. The darkened room was bare: a bed, a few clothes, all the things she owns could fit into a suitcase. She was distraught. “I want to meet my parent. But I can’t go back. If I go, he will kill me. He will kill me.” She was talking about her husband, and his family. According to Khushi, her in-laws are wealthy, an influential and powerful family that wield a long reach from Punjab.
Determined to protect her first ‘IELTS Bride’ case, Anu Kaloti is a founding member of the Migrant Workers’ Association and comes from Punjab herself. Khushi’s story is not rare, she said. Drug addiction among young men is rife throughout the region. “A classic scenario. A young female is well educated, the husband is wealthy and uneducated. That marriage is arranged on the condition – [the women] will be the one applying for the visa to study.”
Former farming families may come into a lot of money thanks to rising land prices but their sons have little motivation to work and can fall into drug or alcohol abuse. They become burdens, so their family will advertise for a well-educated woman able to pass the IELTS test.
“The husband’s family will fund the entire thing. The husband’s family get to keep control. A marriage based on – like a business deal.” It is a way out of India and a way to hide their shame.
For Khushi, it started with her marriage in 2014. “To be honest we are poor. My parents thought this would be okay. Within three days of marriage, I came to know he was taking drugs.”
What kind of drugs? “Heroin," she said. “He would inject it. My mother-in-law bought it for him. If she didn’t he would threaten suicide.” Khushi said that there were many more young Indian students, IELTS brides, like herself, living in Auckland.
At Sahaayta Counselling and Social Support Services in Counties Manukau, counsellor Zoya Kara has seen a concerning rise in cases like Khushi’s in recent years. It began in 2014 with the exponential rise in enrolments by international students. “You are giving them hope [with] one year ‘open job search visas.” Khushi’s lawyer has about half a dozen IELTS bride cases on his books,
“After marriage, her husband’s family controlled every aspect of her life including the visa process to come to New Zealand,” he said. “She’s now being accused by Immigration New Zealand of providing false documentation in her student visa application, something that she was completely unaware of.”
He said Khushi had proof that her documents were tampered with, evidence of fraud that was not her doing. But the outlook is still grim. “Immigration New Zealand [take] the position that an applicant must stand in the shoes of the agent. Anything that the agent does, in terms of lying, false documentation, becomes the responsibility of the applicant, whether or not they knew what the agent was doing.”
INZ is wary of relationship fraud. In the past seven and a half years they’ve received more than 1300 complaints about dubious couples. If she was deported to India, though, the lawyer said Khushi faced retribution.
“This family appears to have had an expectation that it was this woman’s responsibility to not only bring their son to New Zealand but to ensure their son became a resident here in New Zealand.”
“The fact that it is the husband who committed the domestic violence that got him deported, seems completely immaterial to the husband’s demand of the return of the money. They are threatening her, they’re threatening her family.”
“I’m totally in fear for my life,” said Khushi, “don’t send me back, please. Don’t send me back. They will kill me.”
To read the actual article, visit here.
Immigration NZ's online application process has been improved to increase the types of visas that can be applied for online, to allow online visitor visa applications from families, and to allow groups of applications to be submitted together.
You can now apply online for group visitor visas, such as visitor visas for tour groups, or for groups of visiting officials. You can also now apply for a visitor visa as the guardian of a student.
Families visiting New Zealand can now apply for visitor visas together on one application. Previously each member of a family had to apply online individually, or to submit a paper application.
You can also now submit multiple applications together as group. When submitting a group of applications together you make one payment for the entire group, and we will receive and process the applications together.
As Simon announced earlier new Minister of Immigration is intending to make some changes to Post Study Work Visa. Check what the Minister said from here.
A $261 million hit to the economy each year is likely the "best case scenario" under Government plans to stop "migration-motivated" international students seeking an easy path to residency.
A report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says removing work rights for international students in lower than bachelors-level qualifications will mean an estimated 7000 to 10,000 fewer students coming to New Zealand each year.
The Government will review international students' ability to work after graduation before looking at their right to work up to 20 hours a week while studying later this year. MBIE estimated up to a third of international students working while studying last year were pursuing low-level qualifications.
Lees-Galloway said there was no target for reducing the number of student visas issued. Cutting down migration was second to "return[ing] our export education system to one that is focused on providing quality education".
MBIE's report said having 10,000 fewer international students would mean $70m lost revenue from tuition fees and an estimated economic impact of $261m per year – assuming changes to work rights are successfully targeted at the "lower-value" tertiary sector. International enrolments at private tertiary colleges dropped by about 10,000 after English-language requirements were tightened in 2015 and 2017.
Those colleges, known as private training establishments (PTEs), stood to lose the most if work rights changed – it's likely some would "become unsustainable", the report said – but polytechnics and institutes of technology, which have increasingly relied on international enrolments as their domestic ones fall, were also at risk.
High volumes of "migration motivated" students, particularly from India, had contributed to a gradual decline in the skill level of permanent residents since 2012. The report noted Immigration New Zealand lacked the capacity to investigate the "large number" of allegations of migrant exploitation it received and manage visa fraud, such as "imposters" sitting interviews to verify an applicant's grasp of English.
Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand chairman Craig Musson said PTEs would "take a hit definitely" if prospective students' work rights were limited.
They needed to "look at the wider practice" and diversify their offerings and their students to survive, he said.
"If you go back to the early 2000s, there were a lot of English-language schools that jumped on the Chinese [student] bandwagon and then when the market diversified those businesses closed down.
"We don't want this to be done wholesale and we don't want this to be done overnight. Even with National [in Government] there were changes afoot . . . the problem at the moment is the uncertainty."
MBIE predicted short-term hospitality and retail labour shortages if students' work rights were changed. Lees-Galloway said other aspects of the immigration system were designed to fill labour gaps: "Students are primarily here to study, not prop up businesses that could be employing New Zealanders."
Universities New Zealand executive director Chris Whelan said the risks to New Zealand's $4.2 billion international education industry were just as great "if we don't take the $260m hit".
Talks were under way to establish a trade-off scheme, where international students would be eligible for a one-year work visa for each year of study they completed, Whelan said.
A similar system is used in Canada.
Actual article can be found from here.
Simon Park Attended the session with new Minister of Immigration, Ian Lees-Galloway.
Key points are:
1. INZ is developing "Regional Skills Shortage List" which will be announced.
2. It will double the number of labour inspectors to stop exploiting migrant workers.
3. Family category visa will open again with changes in the mid of this year.
4. There will be some new visa categories (I.e. Exceptional Skills Work Visa, Kiwi builder visa etc).
5. It is working on Post Study Work Visa to make it difficult for those who do lower value education courses in NZ to get.
6. No immediate changes to Entrepreneur Work Visa & Investor Visa.
Key messages he was delivering were "INZ will work on changes to contribute to the regional economy. It will also work to protect vulnerable migrant workers from being exploited by toughening labour market test and adding more labour inspectors"
Inquiry into deporting Kim Dotcom is complete but Immigration NZ is keeping its findings secret - even from its minister
Immigration NZ has completed an investigation into whether Kim Dotcom can be deported from New Zealand for failing to declare a dangerous driving conviction - but it's refusing to say what the outcome is.
The department has not even told its new minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, the inquiry is complete although legal experts say it almost certainly would recommend Dotcom be deported. But that won't happen without the report going to Lees-Galloway - it's his job to make the decision.
Immigration NZ won't say what the outcome is and instead aims to wait for the end of the legal fight to extradite Dotcom to the United States to stand trial for alleged copyright breaches.
The NZ Herald broke the story that led to the investigation in 2014, revealing Dotcom applied for residency without declaring a dangerous driving conviction from 2009. Court records show he was clocked doing 149km/h in a 50km/h zone.
There was no mention of the conviction in his residency application eight months later, which asked: "Have you or your family members included in your application ever been convicted of an offence (including a traffic offence) committed in the last five years involving dangerous driving?" Dotcom's application showed the box marked "no" had been checked.
Immigration NZ's resolutions manager Margaret Cantlon said "any question" of Dotcom's deportation would not go to Lees-Galloway until the extradition proceedings, including appeals and any judicial review, were finished. "INZ has not briefed the new minister on the deportation case."
Asked if the length of the inquiry was a record, she said there were no "statistics in a reportable format on the length of time it takes to deal with cases involving potential liability for deportation".
A spokesman for Lees-Galloway confirmed the minister had had no briefings on Dotcom. "The minister has received no information on this issue to date."
The inquiry into Dotcom has the potential to affect his whole family, as former wife Mona and five children came into New Zealand on his residency. He has since remarried, wedding Elizabeth Donnelly last month.
He entered the country on a special scheme intended to attract wealthy foreigners, giving three-years residency and a fast-track to citizenship to those who invested $10m or more in New Zealand.
Dotcom has called deportation the government's "plan B" if efforts to extradite him to the United States fail. But he has said that effort to remove him would result in another fight through the courts.
Dotcom said he believed Immigration would "sit on it" because Labour's Lees-Galloway "would not deport my family for a speeding ticket". "I'm not concerned about this stillborn plan by the former National government. They thought if extradition fails, which it will, they can just deport me."
He predicted deportation would fail, saying it had been studied and "resulted in a good laugh by my legal team". If deported, Dotcom would likely be sent back to Germany, which would pose a problem for the United States because it has different extradition rules. Germany has already refused to extradite one of the Megaupload accused within its borders.
It's not the first time Dotcom has faced scrutiny over his residency application. In 2010, when Dotcom was granted residency, his lawyers had to tell Immigration NZ within days of his arrival in the country that share trading convictions in Hong Kong had not been declared. In that case, the lawyers explained that Dotcom was unable to disclose the charges because of Hong Kong law.
On that occasion, Immigration NZ sent its inquiry report to then-Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman, who said it was fine for Dotcom to stay. The whole process took about two months, including Christmas.
Lane Neave law firm partner Mark Williams said the final decision was down to Lees-Galloway and "the minister is going to hope extradition does the job for him". It would save carrying out unnecessary work, potentially fighting through the court and save the minister from a political hot potato.
"My view is if it got to the position where the minister was looking at this under a National government, it would be a practical certainty he would be deported." Under the new government, he said it still looked a "slam dunk" because it was the second time a new conviction had emerged. "That would not be viewed favourably at all."
Williams, who is considered an international expert on immigration law, holds roles at leading universities and sits on the NZ Law Society immigration committee, said the international perception of New Zealand's immigration system was important. "You'd almost have to deport someone like that to send a message."
Williams said appeals were heard by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal and could be subject to judicial review at the High Court. Successful appeals beyond the High Court were rare. He said Immigration NZ's position was "practical" because if Dotcom was extradited and then imprisoned in the US there would be no need to go through the deportation process.
Simon Laurent of Laurent Law, who also sits on the New Zealand Law Society immigration committee, said Dotcom would have to show there was no deliberate attempt to conceal the conviction. But he also said it was ultimately up to the minister. "Concealment is one of those things they lay into people very heavily for." Laurent, who has had leading roles across immigration law and with the NZ Association of Migration and Investment, said the longer decisions took created greater reasons for continuing to stay in New Zealand. He said delays were not unusual and cases could linger, with the extra time creating stronger ties between the focus of a deportation order and New Zealand.
National Party immigration spokesman Simon Bridges said "there should be no special treatment for Kim Dotcom". He said he would expect Immigration NZ was taking the same approach it would to anyone facing deportation.
Immigration NZ granted Dotcom's residency application despite being told by the NZ Security Intelligence Service that the FBI was investigating.
Documents obtained by the Herald through the OIA showed NZSIS staff tried to block the residency application but dropped its objection after being told there was "political pressure" to let the tycoon into New Zealand.
At the time, the new residency scheme was having little success and - documents show - Coleman was eager to get "high rollers" into the country. The case of Dotcom and the three others facing extradition with him is before the Court of Appeal in Wellington.
Although Dotcom is charged with criminal copyright violation in the US, the High Court ruled there was no such crime in New Zealand. It instead accepted the US argument that Dotcom should be extradited on "fraud". The shift from copyright to fraud is the main basis of the appeals. Both sides have said they intend to appeal the outcome to the Supreme Court.
Deportation and extradition - what's the difference?
It is the act of expelling someone from a country, usually back to the country of their citizenship. In the case of people with residency in New Zealand, they have gone through a process that has resulted in losing their legal right to stay. They are then served a deportation order signed by the Minister of Immigration.
Extradition: It is the act of allowing a foreign nation to take someone from New Zealand to face criminal charges in that foreign country. The right to do so exists under agreements made between countries. In New Zealand, extradition hearings take place in the district court, which establishes if there is a case to answer. The Minister of Justice then signs the extradition order.
To read the actual article, visit here.
Information and communications technology (ICT) workers who were refused visas after being classed as call centre operators say further delays to their cases are draining their hopes and causing mental anguish.
The ICT customer service workers won an appeals tribunal case in November but are still awaiting Immigration New Zealand's re-assessment of their claims. One of the workers, who did not want to be named, said he and other immigrants had lost thousands of dollars in fighting their case for the last 18 months.
He believed it was a deliberate strategy to prompt immigrants to give up on valid applications by wearing them down. "they are trying to take as much time as possible and people who are nearing the end of their visa will probably go back to their country and that is how they can cut down on immigration," he said. "We have already lost thousands in fighting against an unfair decision and have suffered mentally enough that slowly all our hopes are draining away. "It's been an absolute nightmare for the past 17 to 18 months, as we are totally stressed out financially and mentally, so that some of our colleagues have even visited doctors as they are now mentally upset as well."
Immigration New Zealand area manager Marcelle Foley said cases referred back by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal were prioritised, but it was not possible to say when decisions would be made.
Immigration New Zealand had completed its review of the applications and was now reassessing them, she said.
To read the actual article, visit here.
An Auckland woman is accused of preying on vulnerable family members by illegally charging them for immigration services.
Lealeifuaneva Linda Moala, 31, appeared in the Manukau District Court on Thursday charged with unlawfully asking for a fee for immigration advice. It is alleged she took payment from four family members and friends in the Tongan community.
The Immigration Advisers Authority brought the charges, two of which are under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act and one of which is under the Crimes Act.
The authority alleged Moala, while not being licensed nor exempt from the requirement to be license, asked for a fee for the provision of immigration advice.
It also alleged she obtained a payment by deception. Moala was remanded on bail and will reappear in court in March.
"The [allegations] by the IAA are another example of someone taking advantage of Tongan and Pacific people who are in a tough spot," Immigration Advisers registrar Catherine Albiston said.
"The IAA continues to raise awareness amongst Pacific communities in New Zealand, as well as in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, that unlawful immigration advice can cause significant stress and problems for visa applicants."
Anyone needing help with a visa application should only use a licensed immigration adviser or a person exempt from licensing requirements, such as a lawyer, she said.
Those found guilty of offering unlicensed immigration advice can face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
To read the actual article, visit here.
Immigration Trust & Simon Park's names/profiles have been stolen & used to scam people in the Philippines.
Someone called Nixon family approached people in the Philippines using their Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/poeanewzealandjobhiring/ (now the page has removed reference to Immigration Trust and Simon's profile but still operate the page https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=209195606295084&id=197442257470419) to offer immediate work placement for you.
We have NO affiliation with the Nixon family and do NOT work for other companies.
The family used Immigration Trust's name and Simon Park (our CEO)'s profile to lure people to believe that the company has a reputable Licensed Immigration Adviser (LIA) working with them.
However they used a wrong email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) which was not listed on www.iaa.govt.nz (see below). Now they changed and use their own email address.
Immigration Trust & Simon Park has NO working relationship with Nixon family nor New Zealand Job Hiring - POEA. They stole & used our company name and Simon's profile to scam people to get money.
How to avoid all these?
1. Check the licensed immigration adviser's details from www.iaa.govt.nz, See Simon Park's details below. As you can see the email used by the Nixon family is different from the email address registered with www.iaa.govt.nz
2. No Licensed Immigration Adviser (LIA) asks you pay the fee without issuing a letter of engagement. Therefore you must ask for a written agreement or a letter of engagement from your LIA before paying anything. This practise has been clearly explained in the Code of Conduct 2014 and every LIA must follow. If not, please complain to www.iaa.govt.nz via here.
What should I do if I was contacted by the Nixon family
1. If you have been approached by the Nixon family or their Facebook Page called New Zealand Job Hiring - POEA (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=209195606295084&id=197442257470419) please report to www.iaa.govt.nz via email@example.com with evidence. We really hope there is none actually paid them for this bogus service.
2. Please share this via your social site to prevent the Nixon family from carrying on this scam.
A Southland migrant farmer has had a visa application denied as apparently he did not meet the five-year residency agreement. But Riverton farmer Arnulfo Nanat is confused as he has lived in New Zealand with his wife and two daughters for nine years and five months, arriving in 2008. The visa with a pathway to citizenship for immigrants is due to close in 2018.
"According to the letter, it's just that I did not meet the five-year residency requirement," Nanat said.
His employer changed its business name in "2012 or 2013" and Nanat said that might have caused a problem with his application. "I've been with the same employer on the same farm the whole time."
Nanat said he had been getting advice on his application, and would be "filing for ministerial intervention".
The South Island contribution work visa was introduced in April 2017, and was designed to provide a residency pathway for migrants on long-term working visas.
Invercargill electorate MP Sarah Dowie said that she had received figures from Immigration NZ showing there had been only 1264 applications for the 4000 places available under the scheme.
Of these, 681 applications had been approved, and 225 declined.
"Eligible Southland migrants only have until May of next year to take up this residency offer," Dowie said.
Dipton dairy farmer Ronald Carbonel has been successful in obtaining the new visa. "Before I tried the skilled migrant category and had no luck with that, with this pathway I had a better chance."
Carbonel has been in New Zealand since 2008, and has worked on two different farms during his time here. His wife and daughter joined him in 2010, and his 19-month-old son was born "a New Zealand baby," he said.
Any migrants eligible for the South Island contribution visa should not hesitate to apply, Carbonel said, because it "gives a big opportunity to stay in New Zealand." "The skilled migrant category at the moment is hard because there are so many requirements for it." Dowie said the pathway was implemented "in recognition that we have a strong economy throughout the South Island and a long-term shortage of people to do the available work in many regions, including Southland."
"There are a whole lot of people in our province that have had their working visa roll over and roll over and ordinarily wouldn't meet the criteria for a skilled migrant visa." She said questions needed to be asked around why applications haven't been coming in, and why so many applicants had been denied.
The previous government did "a lot of work" to determine how many potential applicants there would be, which was how the 4000 available places was determined.
It was important to recognise the workers had been in New Zealand for a long time she said, and "the kids are in school and are Kiwi as." "They are New Zealanders at heart."
Labour and NZ First campaign promises to cut immigration was "quite concerning considering our primary sector is reliant on immigrant workers," she said.
The Southland Regional Development Strategy goal of 10,000 new residents in Southland would be impossible without a continued stream of immigrants, Dowie said. "We are going to have to look overseas and bring skilled people to our shores."
Clutha-Southland New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson said the Government recognised the need for migrants, especially in the dairy sector, where it had been difficult to recruit New Zealanders.
"We are always in support of bringing in people we need." However, "there needs to be more training of our own people".
Patterson said more support was needed from the previous government for the Lincoln University Telford Division, that "nearly had to close its gate", which was recently taken over by the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre.
The immigration cutbacks NZ First proposed was "largely targeted" at students coming to New Zealand and doing "shoddy" courses in Auckland, he said.
To read the actual article, visit here.
A woman whose elderly mother is stranded in England because of a freeze on the parent immigration category says thousands of other families are stuck in limbo.
The previous government decided to review the category in October 2016, and the new government is due to consider recommendations on that in the New Year.
Norah Cheetham, 83, had been visiting annually on a three-month visa and had returned to England last year to avoid becoming an overstayer.
Her only child, Carole Barker, who emigrated in 2005 and is now a citizen, said her mother's visa decision looked close to approval when the freeze was announced.
"It was totally unexpected and we've effectively been stonewalled by Immigration now for 12 months," she said. "It's not getting any easier as the months go by. She's trying to keep positive but it's very physically and emotionally draining for her. "She's in complete limbo. The one thing we've been trying to push with the government departments on in this situation is that the people affected in this category are predominantly elderly and often living on their own, widowed.
"They are stuck in limbo and being in limbo at the age group they're in is not a nice place to be."
She said not knowing their fate for two or three years was "absolutely awful" and being apart from her only daughter and grand-daughter at Christmas was particularly tough for her.
"She's stoical," she said. "She always has good faith in people and she's trying to get on with her life in the UK but obviously as the time goes by she gets a little bit more despairing, and saddened I suppose, frustrated."
They wanted to draw attention to what she said was the thousands of people affected by the freeze.
"If the answer is no, at least they know, they can plan for the years they have got left.
Immigration New Zealand said the parent category was temporarily closed to new applications because of very high demand.
It said as of August 2017, 2423 applications had NOT been allocated to an immigration officer for processing. Immigration New Zealand's recommendations from a review of the category were expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
To read the actual article, visit here.