Wednesday, 12 December 2012, 9:37 am
Press Release: Amicus Barristers’ Chambers
Immigration New Zealand Shatters Migrants’ Holidays And Future
Indian workers prevented by Immigration New Zealand from returning back to New Zealand
Numerous Indian workers lawfully holding Work Visas in New Zealand have been prevented from returning to their jobs in New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand.
Dozens, and possibly hundreds of Indians holding valid Work Visas returned to India for holidays to celebrate Diwali with their families and, and with many also visiting their families whom they had not seen for many years or entering into negotiations for arranged marriages.
Despite these workers having jobs to return to and approval from their employers for extended leave, Immigration New Zealand have intervened and refused to allow many of these lawful workers from boarding aircraft bound for New Zealand and returning to work.
Judicial Review proceedings have been filed in the Auckland High Court this week seeking an interim injunction against Immigration New Zealand who intend to defend the application simply on the basis that the workers have no right to review the decision.
Lawyer for the 8 applicants, Mr Alastair J McClymont says that many Indians on Work Visas return to India for extended breaks during this time of year as they want to visit their families over Diwali, which is like Kiwis returning home for Christmas. Whilst in India many also enter into marriage negotiations which can be protracted as finding the right partner is not always easy and those workers in the Horticulture industry are encouraged to take their holidays during this time of year.
Immigration New Zealand advised Mr McClymont that they simply wished to determine whether the extended leave period was authorised. Despite this claim, Mr McClymont notes that although they have been prevented from boarding their flight for a month now, Immigration New Zealand have not yet bothered making a phone call to his clients’ employers to check if the leave was authorised.
The consequence of this action is that many of these workers are now facing termination of their employment as the employers, whilst generally sympathetic, cannot keep their jobs open indefinitely and will soon need to replace them. Many of these workers have spent thousands of dollars studying and obtaining New Zealand qualifications and are now gaining valuable work experience relevant to their qualifications.
Mr McClymont is of the opinion that Immigration New Zealand, is simply trying to force the employers to terminate the employment, a claim which the High Court in Auckland will hear early next week.
Dr Frank C. Deliu, counsel for the migrant workers, has alleged that Immigration New Zealand has acted unlawfully and indeed without any proper legal basis: “There are powers to cancel a visa and there are even powers to deport people, but my clients have done nothing wrong and even Immigration New Zealand accept that they hold valid visas, but they are being prevented from boarding their flights to come back to a place where some have lived and worked for many years without any legal basis and indeed without any proof, it is just wrong. Imagine building a life in a country, doing nothing wrong and suddenly having it all taken away from you by some faceless bureaucrat in some other part of the world, it is just terrible. I am confident the Court will release them from the hellish nightmare they are currently trapped in by this rogue government agency.”
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The Auckland arrest of billionaire Kim Dotcom, an investor and online piracy facilitator file-sharing host, in his mansion made worldwide news headlines – and cost Kiwi taxpayers at least $70,000. Along with American agents, the New Zealand police had been conducting an investigation into Dotcom’s website Megaupload since August of last year. He and six others were part of a group called the “Mega Conspiracy”, charged with reproducing and illegally distributing “free” copies of proprietary works such as software, films, TV programmes, music and books.
Dotcom was granted New Zealand residency in November 2010, under a scheme whereby he had to invest $10 million in government bonds and pass a test of good character. Despite strict regulations about the sorts of foreigners permitted to take up residency in the Pacific nation – thin people, people with low blood pressure, and the non-handicapped – Mr Dotcom, thought to be an obese diabetic with a slipped disc and hypertension, was welcomed with open arms. The health requirements link under the NZIS investor category information page is a 404. His past criminal convictions, sufficient to refuse him ownership of Kiwi land, were nonetheless glossed over when granting him residency. In 1998 he had been sentenced to two years for handling stolen goods and credit card fraud. In 2001, he was charged with illegal speculations on the stock market and fraudulent misuse of funds. The following year, he was arrested in Thailand and sentenced in Germany for fraudulent misuse of funds. Presumably, there is a statute of limitations for the purposes of evaluation of fitness for residency? Yes, dating from 1950, and it was repealed in January 2011.
Kim’s lifestyle, in a country where according to Darrin Hodgetts, poverty is the biggest growth industry, was conspicuous and even frightening, but no one could accuse him of not spreading the money around: large dollops were tossed merrily to politicians and the New Zealand Government. But it wasn’t actually the New Zealand Lifestyle he was after. Internet security expert Jeffrey Carr has suggested that “New Zealand is under the radar, away from Interpol and a better lifestyle than Eastern Europe.”
Now a father of five, Dotcom was charged this time with five counts of copyright infringement and money laundering, along with other employees of his company and its subsidiaries: Megaporn, Megavideo, Megaclick, and Megarotic. When the police showed up for the bust, at his birthday party no less, he barricaded himself inside his mansion’s safe room with a sawed-off shotgun, which he had purchased for his family’s safety.
His English was undoubtedly good enough to pass; however, investor-category candidates only need an IELTS score of 4 out of 9 to gain residency. It is clear that some immigrants are more equal than others, in a nation that trumpets its lack of corruption as a point of attraction. Russian mining billionaire Abramov, incidentally also a citizen of Cyprus, and roughly a dozen others have become new residents under this category. Kim Dotcom is now out on bail, his order of arrest nullified and voided.
It turns out that John Banks, Auckland Mayor, is alleged to have given the German scofflaw unlicensed immigration advice. But that was not the least of it. Current allegations under investigation suggest that Banks’ mayoral campaign received “donations” in two hefty $25,000 chunks from Dotcom that, along with gambling den Sky City’s, were listed as anonymous. Although Banks has distanced himself from the issue, claiming faulty memory, it is clear there was schmoozing going on. Banks had attended parties at the Dotcom mansion, proposing toasts, and enjoyed personal helicopter taxi services. ACT party leader Banks is small business and regulatory reform minister and an associate minister for the commerce and education portfolios.
What is unclear is where Kim received the inspiration for Welcome To The Good Life, on his first album Bailhouse Rock. The lyrics – “Sleep all day, party all night / have whatever you want, whenever you like” –suggest an esprit that Joe Blogs could never afford to embrace, even if he did like.
Further details have emerged in the world press over the way in which Kim Dotcom (founder of the Megaupload site) gained permanent residence in New Zealand.
It would seem that, when it comes to immigration at least, money talks and big money talks loudest.
This is an excerpt from an article published in the British newspaper The Daily Mail, telling how Dotcom allegedly issued an ultimatum to New Zealand immigration officials and threatened to take his business to another country.
He set a deadline for NZIS to act on his application and threatened to move to Australia or Canada if they didn’t meet it. Even though immigration staff knew he was controlling the processing of his application, and could be seen as ‘buying residence,’ the application was approved.
Furthermore, just after he was granted residence in New Zealand he was found guilty and fined for crimes in Hong Kong, but immigration officials in New Zealand decided those offences weren’t serious enough to warrant deportation:
“At the time his residency application was being considered, Dotcom had made charitable contributions in New Zealand and was planning to sponsor a fireworks show for the city of Auckland at a cost of 600,000 New Zealand dollars ($492,000).
He set a deadline for immigration officials to act on his application and threatened to move to Australia or Canada if they didn’t meet it.
‘The applicant has already made a substantial economic contribution to New Zealand through his spending here and will make further investments,’ immigration official Chris Biggs wrote.
‘I consider that these benefits and potential benefits outweigh the negative aspects flowing from the applicant’s convictions.’
Immigration official Jan Clark told the AP that due process was followed and all elements of Dotcom’s application were appropriately considered.
New Zealand records show that Dotcom first applied for New Zealand residency in June 2010 under a special category for wealthy investors. Before that, he had been living in Hong Kong, where Megaupload is registered.
Dotcom’s immigration agent, David Cooper, described him in application papers as a billionaire, a term immigration officials repeated in their own assessments. Cooper said the description came from Dotcom himself.
Subsequent asset seizures, however, indicate Dotcom’s wealth to be far less than $1billion.
On October 26, 2010, immigration manager, Gareth Grigg, sent a memo to a colleague noting Dotcom’s charitable contributions, but also noted in a section titled ‘Risks‘ that: ‘Mr Dotcom may be seen to be controlling the processing of his application;’ that he may ‘attract ‘buying residence’ criticism;’ and that proceeding with the application without all the outstanding information ‘may amount to Mr Dotcom being afforded special treatment because of his wealth.’
Two months after he was granted residency, Dotcom was convicted in Hong Kong on several counts of failing to disclose his shareholding levels to the Securities and Futures Commission, and was fined 8,000 Hong Kong dollars ($1,031). New Zealand immigration authorities decided the convictions were too minor to consider deporting Dotcom.
Megaupload was shut down in January when Dotcom was arrested. Dotcom did not suggest that government officials illegally shared copyrighted material…” read more
Want to know more about the workings of New Zealand’s immigration service?
Earlier this month the Labour party obtained a cabinet paper that revealed National was planning a raft of confidential immigration changes that somehow seem to have been ‘left out’ of last month’s official briefing to the incoming Minister.
‘Somehow’ a copy of that confidential paper found its way to Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton, who issued a press about it here, saying Immigration New Zealand was planning to create a two-tier system where applications from parents sponsored by their higher income children, or those who bring a guaranteed income or funds, would be processed faster than other applications. This effectively would give preference to the wealthy.
You can read the leaked document by clicking on the link to the Scoop.co.nz website below.
This appeared on the forum at Expatexposed.com (thanks to Moonlight for the link) and gives a summary of the main points of the document:
“This is essential reading for anyone who’s interested in the workings of the NZIS. The Labour Party got a copy of it and released it via Scoop.http://img.scoop.co.nz/medi…__Immigration.pdfIt includes:The attraction and timely processing of people for the Canterbury rebuild, without risking Kiwi jobs.The Canterbury rebuild is likely to begin in earnest in the second quarter of 2012, peaking around a year later.Changes to the migrant levy.The axing of the Ministry of Social Development’s Migrant Employment Assistance initiative because it was unsuccessful.
The closure of the Sibling and Adult Category.
A two-tier process whereby applications from parents who are sponsored by higher income sponsors, or who bring a guaranteed income or funds (Tier One) will be processed faster than other sponsored parents (Tier Two).
Net migration is negative and people are leaving New Zealand, mostly for Australia.
A drop in visa applications will result in a projected $44 million deficit of the memorandum account at 30 June 2012.
The failure of the present Refugee Resettlement Strategy. “Refugee resettlement outcomes are currently poor – employment rates and educational achievement are low, and benefit take-up rates and state housing tenancies are high.”
And much more.”
Planning to emigrate to New Zealand in the near future? we think that the wealthier you are the better your chances will be. Which is incongruous for a country that markets itself to migrants on its simple lifestyle attractions.
Perhaps the truth is that only those who have the lifestyles of the rich and famous should apply. John Key said recently the super- rich are good for New Zealand. How good for New Zealand does that make you?
If you don’t have bags of cash to throw at this you may as well save yourself the costly application fees. Remember Dotcom’s options are also open to you – Australia and Canada.
You may also be interested in Titanic director James Cameron buys Kiwi farms:
“Wairarapa will soon be home to another Hollywood director after James Cameron bought two farms in the district.
The Avatar and Titanic director plans to live on the South Wairarapa properties with his family.
Land Information New Zealand documents show sales have been approved by the Overseas Investment Office for two blocks, of 817ha and 248ha at Western Lake Rd.
The land was sold to Anglin Classics, a firm owned by Cameron.
In a statement today, the Cameron family said they were “thrilled to be making a new home in New Zealand”…” more