Immigration Lawyer Alastair McClymont who has been arguing the case of several Indian students deported earlier this year, with the Immigration New Zealand (INZ), believes that the new government needs to be told early on about the student deportation issue before the civil servants at INZ could influence the decision making of the new government.
Mr McClymont was speaking with The Indian Weekender on the plans of a protest organised by Union supported group Migrant Worker Association on Sunday, 3.pm. at the Unitarian Church, Ponsonby Auckland.
IWK: Are you aware of the protest event planned on this weekend by the Migrant Worker Association demanding the return of deported Indian students?
Mr McClymont: Yes, it’s even more than that. As you would be aware that there is a group of students who took sanctuary in the church asking the government to get involved in the student fraud issue in which they got caught up on. There were a lot of Labour and Green MPs and other politicians who provided support. Now that there is a change of government, the people who were involved in the protests are starting the campaign again, asking the new government to get involved and do something not only for students but also to deal with bigger issues that caused these problems in the first place. I mean to say not just student visa but also worker exploitation, family residence visa application, family reunification issues... a whole lot of immigration issues.
IWK: Any reason for being so quick in raising the demand again with the new government?
Mr McClymont: Very much so, because the Labour and Green MPs at that time have been saying that the previous government did not show any humanitarian concern towards the migrants. The danger really is that once the new government settles in the office, the civil servants will get their ear in and try to influence decision making. So it's important that the new Minister of Immigration and the new government knows very early on, that the people are listening and they want accountability, and they don’t want civil servants to take control and dominate the new government.
IWK: How confidants are you that the new government would be intervening immediately resulting in the return of deported students?
Mr McClymont: At the time when students took sanctuary in the Church, they were visited by at least five to six politicians who are now Ministers in the new government offering full support and solidarity with the students. Now they are in the position of power, and it is time to see if their action will match their words.
IWK: Are you expecting some Ministers to be present at the event on Sunday to hear the demands and expectations of people?
Mr McClymont: Well, I would doubt that the Immigration Minister would be present himself at the event because you need to be little bit hands-off from being seen involved in the protests when you are a Minister in the government. But I am sure that many of the junior MPs of the Labour Party and Green Party would return and provide their support.