Wednesday, December 7, 2016

“Student Pathway” to Migration – Beware of “Education Trafficking”

BEWARE OF “EDUCATION TRAFFICKING”
Are You Taking the “Student Pathway” to Migrate…?
Musings of a Veteran
By
VIKRAM KARVE

THE “STUDENT PATHWAY”

In the 1970’s – my classmates used the “student pathway” to migrate abroad to the US and settle down there permanently to realize their “American Dream” (those days – USA was the most sought after destination for youngsters who wanted to migrate away from India for a “better life”).

In fact – before “liberalization” (1991) – owing to various “socialist” restrictions – the “student pathway” was the only way to migrate and settle down in a foreign country.

“Liberalization” and “Globalization” created new options for aspiring migrants – like the “foreign job” option and “onsite work” option etc – which facilitated migration to a foreign country – but – even now – most aspiring migrants use the “student pathway” route to migrate and settle down in the country of their choice.

During my recent visit to New Zealand – I interacted with many youngsters from India – who were on the “student pathway” to realize their dream of settling down in New Zealand.

Today – in view of various favorable advantages and promising prospects – many youngsters want to migrate to New Zealand – and – they use the “student pathway” – since – New Zealand’s immigration policies include a post-study work pathway for international students who have completed a New Zealand qualification – which lets you find a job and get work experience in a field related to your studies and makes it easier to apply for residence and finally acquire citizenship.

All the youngsters I met in New Zealand – some students – and some working after completing their studies – all of them were desperate to settle down in New Zealand – and – not even a single youngster wanted to return back to India.

(In fact – New Zealand is such a lovely place that even visitors feel like staying on there forever – and – most visitors feel sad when their stay in New Zealand comes to an end and they have to return home)

The youngsters told me that one good plus-point of studying in New Zealand is that you can “earn while you learn” – since students are allowed to work part-time for a specified number of hours every week – and since the hourly “minimum wage” is quite good – students can earn enough to meet their daily needs.

Once they got accustomed to the “better life” in New Zealand – they did not want to return to India – and they wanted to permanently settle down in New Zealand “at any cost”.

I could see this desperate desire for residency (and finally citizenship) in most of the youngsters I met in New Zealand.

One of my friends who has settled down in New Zealand told me that this desperation (to remain in New Zealand) makes youngsters vulnerable to exploitation – especially after they complete their studies and are looking for a job in order to get a work visa – and later – when they want residency – in order to achieve their long term goal is to permanently settle in New Zealand.

She also told me another shocking fact.

She said that it was “our own people” who exploited young Indian migrants the most.

By the term “our own people” – she was referring to erstwhile Indians (who migrated from India to New Zealand many years ago and had got New Zealand Citizenship) – it was they who were exploiting new Indian Migrants the most.

I was shocked to hear this – that – in most cases – new migrants were being exploited by employers in their own ethnic communities.

I did see many young “Indian” migrants working in stores, malls, hotels, restaurants, cafes etc. – but – I was impressed by their “dignity of labour” which is a sign of egalitarian society – it was good to see that students/youngsters were ready to do any type of work to earn some extra money.
In fact – in the very café where my friend and I were sitting – it was an “Indian” migrant who was managing the counter and also serving us.

She told me a few stories – but – I thought they may be apocryphal.

But then – a few days ago – I read three news reports which shocked me.

Here are the url links to the news reports (click url to open on a new page):

1. NZ dream turns to nightmare for international students

2. Student Visa: ‘It's not about education’

3. ‘Sleep with me if you want your visa’ boss tells student worker

Let me add a disclaimer that what is described in these news reports may be aberrations – and may not be representative of the broad reality.

In fact – from my experience of the excellent social life I observed in New Zealand – I feel that these reports may be rare isolated exceptions – and – New Zealand certainly has a superior quality of life than most places.

Yes – New Zealand is a great place to visit, to study, to work – and – if you want – to migrate, reside and settle in.

But – if you are thinking of migrating permanently – you must make yourself aware of various aspects of the realities of life there.

The aim of this article is to generate a bit of awareness.

I do not intend to dissuade youngsters from migrating abroad to realize their dreams of a “better life”.

In fact – I would encourage youngsters to migrate to places where they can achieve their fullest potential and thereby contribute more to the world.

However – aspiring migrants must ensure they are aware of the pros and cons – especially if they are using the “student pathway” – so that they don’t fall victim to “education trafficking” and become vulnerable to exploitation.


EDUCATION TRAFFICKING

A newly coined term “Education Trafficking” refers to the phenomenon of enticing aspiring migrants to take the “student pathway” to get a permanent residency in the country of their choice.

These aspirants pay huge amounts of money to use the “student pathway” to migration since education is expensive in most developed countries.

(It is well known that education has become big business and there are many “stakeholders” who want a share in the pie).

The root cause of the problem of “Education Trafficking” does not lie in the new “host” country to which students want to migrate.

The root cause of the problem lies in the “donor” country “exporting” students – where various “Agents” and “Consultants” mislead and exploit gullible youngsters who are desperate to migrate overseas for a “better life”.

If you want to use the “student pathway” to migrate for a “better life” – please do so by all means – but ensure that you perform due diligence and carry out a “reality check” – so that you do not become vulnerable to exploitation once you migrate to the land of your dreams.

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Dear Reader: Have you read my previous posts on my observations during my short stays in New Zealand…?

Here are a few of the URL links: 

DO YOU WANT TO MIGRATE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY FOR A “BETTER LIFE”…? 

BOMBAY in New Zealand – Travel Tales

Milford Sound is Awesome

WHY DO PEOPLE MIGRATE...?

New Zealand Foodie Memories

NEW ZEALAND FOOD DIARY OF A PURE VEGETARIAN

Also – I intend writing a few more articles on my visits to New Zealand – and – I will post them in my blogs in due course for you to read and comment upon. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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