24 Feb 2017

Indian students hope to return to NZ after deportation

7:00 pm on 24 February 2017

A group of students who are on the verge of being deported say they will continue to fight their case once they're back in India.

Nine students will fly out over the coming days after more than eight months fighting the decision.

The students gathered in their Auckland lawyer's boardroom today and finished off some paperwork for a complaint to the Ombudsman to be made.

The students and their lawyer, Alastair McClymont, said they were unfairly paying the price of India-based agents who submitted fraudulent documents on their behalf. But after failing to get Associate Minister of Immigration David Bennett to intervene they'll be returning home over the next couple of days.

Rahul Reddy said he has organised for his friends to pick him up from the airport.

He said he would be going back to live with his parents and would start to look for work. But despite it all he said he was still set on returning in order to gain work experience.

"Because we've spent our money here, it's not a small amount that we've spent here. It's almost like $30,000 that we spent here for our education and for our work experience to gain. So without that I cannot go back to my country and work there. I have to show them the experience of practical knowledge here."

Mr Reddy said his bags were packed and he would be spending the weekend saying goodbye to friends, family, and members of the Unitarian Church who supported the cause by providing sanctuary.

Mr McClymont said it was far from over.

He was planning on filing a complaint to the Ombudsman about how the students' characters were assessed with a specific emphasis on their case that the students were not aware of what their agents submitted on their behalf.

He was feeling confident the outcome would be positive, he said.

"And if it is I intend to ask Immigration New Zealand and the Ombudsman [to] go back and review up to 150 applications which have been declined by the same method."

Mr McClymont said he would seek to remove his clients' deportation statuses so they were able to apply for a visa to return to New Zealand.

He expected the decision would take a couple of months.

'New Zealand's reputation is going down'

The students returning to India would continue to seek justice there by visiting the local police to press charges against their agents.

The Indian Express newspaper was also starting to report on the students' cases.

One student who was returning, Manoj Narra, said it was not a good look for New Zealand.

"In India New Zealand's reputation is going down, frankly speaking ... Because everyone is saying that if Immigration is in the right position they have to check before entering this country."

He said people were asking why discrepancies were picked up after students had already started studying.

The students maintained that justice had not been served in their case and said they did not want any other international students to New Zealand to have to endure the same ordeal.

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