Everyone is talking about the Indian students who are facing deportation after their appeal to the Immigration Minister was declined last week. There have been two opinions on this case—students knew about the fraud and are now playing the victim or they are actually the victims.

Although it is difficult to know which one is true, there’s one thing that is clear—Immigration New Zealand (INZ) could not verify the facts and information provided in their application when the students first applied for a visa.

In response to Indian Weekender’s query last year about the same, INZ responded that “the very nature of fraud is to try to avoid detection. Fraudsters are cunning in their tactics and increasingly sophisticated in their techniques.”

INZ said that they had put new procedures in place since the fraud was discovered. The deportation notice issued to the students says that INZ enquired with their respective banks whose loan reimbursement letter was provided with the visa application and found out that the letter was fake. So does that mean that in a normal procedure, INZ does not cross-check it with the bank whether a loan has been issued or not?

When Indian Weekender spoke to the students, they said that they clearly remember checking each and every document in their visa file and making sure that all the information provided was correct and true. And knowing that INZ will be verifying and checking all the documents in detail, why would they take a risk of producing and submitting a fake loan disbursement letter that might result in refusal of their visa?

But opposite to the common perception, not all the documents were checked properly by the immigration.

It seems like that the authorities are saying that students made a mistake and irrespective of the fact that INZ was unable to detect it, the students need to be punished. But the fact is had the INZ checked the documents properly, this situation would not have arisen at all.

When Indian Weekender spoke to the students, they said that they clearly remember checking each and every document in their visa file and making sure that all the information provided is correct and true. And knowing that all the documents will be verified and scanned in detail, why would they take a risk of producing and submitting a fake loan disbursement letter that might result in refusal of their visa?

But opposite to the common perception, not all the documents were checked properly.

It seems like that the immigration is saying is that you made a mistake and irrespective of the fact that we were unable to detect it, you need to be punished. Had they checked the documents properly, this situation would not have arisen at all.

Students spent about $16,000 to $20,000 towards the course fee alone. Why would anyone who’s spending this much money, would take a chance that would lead to rejection of their application?

If INZ didn’t have adequate ways to detect the fraud, which was apparently made by the immigration agents in India, why should students suffer because of INZ’s incompetency? INZ needs to compromise on this situation because ignorance was shown from both the sides.

It is not justified that only one side is punished. If the students need to go back, the deportation notice should be revoked and they should be asked to leave voluntarily. A deportation notice would close many doors of opportunities for these students who came to New Zealand for a bright future.

Now there’s only hope that this kind of situation could be avoided in the future to ensure no more students suffer in a foreign land and have to go back to their country with their dreams shattered.