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Churches voice concern for students

Here is the church leaders' statement which argues for a compassionate response to 11 Indian students facing deportation from New Zealand.

Taonga News   |  14 Feb 2017

Church leaders’ statement of concern over deportation of Indian students

To the NZ Government and Public

As leaders in our 3 Churches we wish to publicly state our concern about the proposed deportation of several students from India for falsification of their visa papers. We do not believe they intended to deceive the NZ government in this way.

“Having looked at their situation it seems to us that these students have been duped by unscrupulous immigration agents in India. In a previous similar cases we understand that where documentation had been deemed falsified by immigration agents then the group was allowed to stay.” Archbishop Philip Richardson said.

This points to an inconsistency in policy and an unfair treatment of this group of students.

The students were up-to- date with course fees at their educational establishments. They could not draw NZ benefits because they are not citizens or residents. Most of them were tax-paying workers according to their visa conditions and they were contributing to the NZ economy via their taxes, course fees and general living expenses.

We do not deny that the NZ government has a duty to carefully scrutinize immigration applications, nor that applicants have a responsibility in regard to their applications. However these can be complicated processes and the role and legitimacy of immigration agents also needs careful scrutiny. Immigration New Zealand seems to have erred in its processes as well.

 “We urge the government to re-consider the case of these students. We do so on the basis of concern for the human situation of the students, our Christian responsibility to care for ‘the stranger, the widow and the orphan’ among us, and a concern for just application of NZ’s immigration policy.” Cardinal John Dew said.  

Cardinal John Dew

Archbishop of Wellington.

Archbishop Philip Richardson

Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.

Reverend Prince Devandanan

President - the Methodist Church of New Zealand.

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