Migrant Stories – Skilled Migrants Must Drive Taxis To Survive

We’ve heard it many times – migrants have qualifications approved to gain permanent residency and then find NZ employers won’t employ them because they won’t recognise those same qualifications. It’s madness, or perhaps xenophobic protectionism. Here’s an article by David Kemeys in The (North) Shore Times to demonstrate the problem.

Mehmet Mohammed has problems. He’s an immigrant from Turkey – and a Muslim.
Camel jockey, sand nigger, bomb chucker – I’ve heard them all.

“People are quite distrusting of me because they think I’m an Arab and I’m going to blow them up or something. Or they think I must own a restaurant or a kebab shop.”

Mehmet is an engineer – code for taxi driver where immigrants are concerned.

And it is on Auckland’s taxi ranks where the horrible waste of talent is brought into sharp focus. Checking at Auckland’s airport seven drivers – all Indians – were a radiographer, two engineers, an electrical engineer, an accountant, a teacher and a blood analyst chemist.

None can get work in their chosen fields for a variety of reasons, but mostly because their qualifications from Indian institutions are not recognised. Generally speaking they accept it with a shrug, arguing they came to New Zealand to secure a better life for their children.

But two of those seven are planning to abandon their dreams of a new life and return to India, where they say the economy is booming.
“The drunks are the worst. Some of them treat you like dirt, but I am not sure that’s because we are Indian, or just because they are drunk,” one of the drivers says.
“I’ve been called an elephant jockey,” says another.
“I’m from Mumbai and I’d never seen an elephant until I visited the zoo here with my kids. It’s incredible how ignorant some of the people are.
“They think we all wander about like Gandhi or beg in the streets, but Mumbai is a very highly developed city.”

See also: Asians braced for a bashing– many Asians cannot understand why they are met with such hostility because they are meant to be sought-after migrants. Racism on the street is even directed at fourth generation New Zealand-born Asians who speak perfect English.
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