Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.
Today’s tale was sent in by Zeb, who left India to undertake a degree in New Zealand. Upon graduation Zeb found his ethnicity a barrier to finding employment, resulting in discrimination at every turn.
If you are an international student about to make a significant investment in your future you should read the following, then decide if New Zealand really is the right country for you.
“Reading all the previous comments here, I thought to tell my share of ‘fairy-tale’ of my sojourn to the great nation of New Zealand. While I could go on and on about the incidents of racism and bigotry that I experienced in New Zealand, I will at this instance keep it restricted to work.
A NZ degree cuts no ice
See, I my case, I landed in NZ as an international student and completed a Degree in Information System. I thought I would be flooded by offers, given that my area of expertise was in skill shortage list. I genuinely wanted to stay in NZ for a few more years, and gather some experience. Guess what, that was a bad call. In colleges I worked on a project for a very prominent company as part of my curriculum, so I thought I should apply there first, after some one and a half month I got a very sad looking reply that they couldn’t employ me as I didn’t fit their criteria well. Surprise surprise, these are the same folks that benefitted greatly from my project and now I wasn’t fitting into their woodwork. Alas! I should have gone back to India, my motherland , that’s what I thought seeing that rejection. But then I though that it was their loss that they didn’t employed me, and moved on. After that I literally was applying some five jobs per day, money was less so I got a part time job as a petrol pump attendant, something that I wouldn’t have done back home. But my New Zealand dream was keeping my blood warm while I was filling up people’s car at five in the morning, in bone chilling winter. I had high hopes for myself, I thought I will get an interview call today. Nothing happened.
“Would you Indians give me a job if I go begging for it in India?”
My friend suggested to go meet an employment consultant in Hamilton. So, one day I dropped in to the office. And guess what happened. The dude who was hardly taking any interest in me finally got over me and in a very harsh tone asked me. ‘ Would you Indians give me a job if I go begging for it in India? ‘ and ‘ Why don’t you go work at a petrol pump? Your Indian folks run that industry’ . That was the most humiliating thing ever, not because working at petrol pump is a low class job in my opinion, but it was him trying to humiliate me. Well, I thanked him my most gracious of voice, and in pure kiwi accent and walked away as I was getting late for my job at Petrol Station!
I come from a very educated family, so I was rather concerned now. Time was flying and there wasn’t any phone call yet, my inbox was flooding with rejections.I wasn’t able to comprehend the why of it and my effort to know why often failed as the job advertisers failed to give an formidable reply for rejection. Anyways, one day I realized I had lost a significant amount of weight, was anemic and in a constant state of depression. It was hard to make ends meet working at the petrol station.
I am a Muslim with Arabic sounding name and am definitely not a terrorist. I was in terror myself, terror of losing my sanity. One day I was visited by my friends father, he is American and owns a company in New Zealand. I talked to him and was telling what I was going through, to which he offered me a job saying that he has some industrial contacts and he can work it out for me. I had to refuse, a man of honor I was. How could I have accepted someone’s favor.
Change your name to an English one
I denied politely, to which he suggested that I should try change my name to an English sounding one and give it a try.His suggestion worked and I was got three calls in the next one month, and finally accepted a position in Tech Support, for which I was definitely overqualified but having something is better than nothing.
My job was in Queenstown! Yay, i thought. The pay was below industry standard and there was no added perks. I knew I wouldn’t be able to save a dime there, i knew i was not going to get any return of the eighty grand of my parent’s hard earned money that was shelled upon my education in this great nation.
Bullying and terrorist slurs
Anyways, I started out. I found it too cold and very expensive place. My office environment was rather cold, I was the only non white there. It didn’t made any difference to me but I noticed that the co- workers were rather concerned by it. I ignored that, tried to be friendly and on good terms with everybody and focused on my job. Soon it came crystal clear that there was some serious cases of mismanagements inside, and there was a group of bullies who held their domain upright. Kiwis run their companies like they run their country,by boasting and not delivering. Anyway, soon I was working overtime without pay, I had the greatest workload and yet the credit went to my south African team leader who didn’t even held a diploma, and was definitely under qualified and was just baking his bread there. I was working for them, rather than the company. I felt reduced, depressed and bullied. My advices weren’t looked upon, and they looked down upon me.I was often called upon by my boss and false allegations were made! Also, very often they used racial slurs and once I was even told a terrorist by one of the managers. My complaint went in vain, and soon they created a situation to throw me out. And guess what, they were successful.
The day I walked out of that dreary place, I gained back my lost self confidence. I felt good,I called m folks and bought a ticket back home. And within a month of my return I got a very nice job in IBM India, working with qualified and warm people who actually have knowledge. And I often regret for waiting so long, and it’s only now that when I compare, I can see how DUMB New Zealanders are!
No wonder the country is going to the Gods, while the immigrants are facing radical problems. I wonder if John Key cares about it while trying to avail investors from Asia?
My suggestion to potential immigrants, if you read the likes of Anton Chekov and Bertrand Russell, find a better option. If you are DUMB and are only good at guzzling tonnes of Alcohol and sleeping around, look toward the great nation of New Zealand!”