On the Move in NZ


Maybe Ambulances Would Be Better?

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.
If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidise it.

- Ronald Reagan

Doctors Driving Taxis "Very Sad"

by James Weir

Indian doctors in New Zealand ended up driving taxis because their degrees were not recognised here, according to Indian commerce minister Murasoli Maran.  He warned that India could retaliate on the issue.  There were many Indian doctors and medical graduates in New Zealand but their qualifications were not recognised, Mr Maran said during a visit to Wellington.  "It is very sad," he said and he wanted the practice changed.

Indian doctors here had complained that they ended up driving taxis when doctors were needed.

New Zealand is trying to recruit foreign fee-paying students from India, but Indian students could be stopped from coming here unless there was recognition of Indian qualifications, Mr Maran said.  Australian and New Zealand universities were "aggressively marketing" for students in India and many students were coming here instead of attending more expensive universities in Britain and the United States.  Indian degrees were recognised in Britain and the United States, but not in New Zealand, he said.

But the Medical Council, responsible for recognising offshore medical degrees, said some doctors came into New Zealand between 1991 and 1995 without understanding the level of qualification required before they could practice in New Zealand.  Some of those people, from many countries, could not meet the standard expected in New Zealand and could not practice.  Since 1995 doctors coming here to work had to be of a "registrable" standard and then they had to sit exams to show their medical knowledge, clinical skills and a suitable standard of English.  The exams were similar to those applied in both Britain and the United States, a spokeswoman from the Medical Council said.

There were hundreds of medical schools in India of "variable quality" and the registration and exam process was to ensure the standards for doctors in New Zealand.  In fact, 275 Indian-qualified doctors work in New Zealand, more than Australia's 250.  That figure excludes specialists.  A joint trade committee would discuss the issue between India and New Zealand, Mr Maran said.

Source: The Dominion, 17 April 2000

Interviews Focus on Migrants' Life Changes

Highly skilled professional migrants who have ended up working as taxi drivers will be interviewed about their experiences in New Zealand.  Albany-based Massey University researcher Patrick Firkin said he planned to interview 10 migrants about their transition from life as a professional to working as a taxi driver.  He said many migrants drove taxis because they were unable to get their credentials or work experience recognised.

Source: nzherald.co.nz 6 August 2003

Retired doctors driving taxis might be okay.  The nice thing about pensioners is that their qualifications don't matter, so the expense of processing them is much less.  For an update on the problem of immigrant professionals being squeezed out of the marketplace, see Shifting Immigrant Goalposts (on a page nearer the end of this section).

Welcome Warmer across Tasman

Welcome to Australia!

When migrants set foot in Australia they are scooped up by a range of Government-funded services designed to help them settle.  Australia not only has a national integrated settlement strategy, it has a $146 million annual budget.  Australia's Government-funded services include English language courses and translation services.  And there is a network of Migrant Resource Centres offering multilingual advice, information and referral services, and assistance to ethnic communities wanting to establish their own settlement schemes.

Although Australia does not have a specific job-rnatching service for newcomers, professional immigrants can turn to the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition to help them have their overseas qualifications recognised.  The office also advises the Government on policies designed to integrate the overseas-qualified into the workforce.  And it offers bridging programmes such as one-year courses for those preparing to sit the entry exams into their respective professions.

Doctors can enter Australia without registration, which they must obtain after arrival.  Each year between 200 and 250 overseas-trained doctors sit Australian registration exams.  Between 55 and 60% pass.

Australia pays such detailed attention to the fate of its immigrants that it surveys them first after 5 months and then after 18, asking among other things if they have jobs.  The latest published data shows that between 31 and 41% of Australian immigrants with a degree are still without work after 5 months.  The percentage falls to between 13 and 21% after 18 months.

And Welcome, Too, to Canada!

Browse the Internet looking for services to settle migrants into Canada and be rewarded with screeds of information on:

bulletIts migrant-host programme - a network of volunteers who verse newcomers in the Canadian way of life and can secure Government funding to cover expenses.
bulletThe immigrant settlement and adaptation programme, which pays charitable organisations and education institutions offering translation services and job-finding clubs.
bulletIts integration fact sheet and language instruction for newcomers.

It even provides information on job hunting, finding a house and what you can expect to find in a rented apartment.

Source: Weekend Herald 5-6 September 1998

What help did we receive?

Our "immigration specialist" (no qualifications - we learned too late - required for that!) asked if he could bring his friend, an accountant, by to chat.  We then received a bill from that accountant for over $1,000, though we saw no benefit from our talk and didn't request it.  The law firm used by the immigration specialist drew up papers for us for both a family trust and a will - neither of which we asked for and neither of which we ever executed, yet we received a bill for $900 for this service.

Job offers?  Introductions to the right people?  Maybe someday.

Migrant Foul-ups

Sir, - My experience with the immigration service reflects the poor service and unnecessary delays other people have dealt with in Auckland.  Fortunately, as I am German, the racism aspect did not occur.  I can't understand why these office staff seem to have hardly any training.  They are not able to acknowledge overseas degrees or professions or work experience.

In my case, the officer even assumed my birth year (1959) was my age, which caused a delay for a few weeks as I wouldn't have had enough points for the application.  After everything was sorted out, I did not even get an apology for the stress caused.  After 2½ years of living in New Zealand, the application for my return visa is another nightmare as the immigration office does not want to renew it before the old one has expired.  I had to delay my holiday flight plans for a day, which cost me an additional $500, only to have the return visa issued the day after it expired.

The immigration office does not encourage educated and highly qualified people to apply for permanent residency if they have to deal with young, unqualified, impolite, impatient and inexperienced staff.

J Brechttschneider

Source: The Dominion 25 May 1998

Start at Home

Before Max Bradford goes on a whirlwind tour to attract new immigrants, I strongly urge him to educate the business sector about recognising the skills and qualifications of many immigrants already living in New Zealand.  I am an immigrant from Canada who has been seeking employment in Auckland for 8 months without success.  Despite my university qualifications and 10 years experience, I am unable to obtain even an entry-level position.  I have been told by personnel consultants that many business are very insular and are not receptive to job applicants who lack New Zealand work experience.

I have met other migrants who hold degrees from Western universities, have years of work experience and speak good English, although perhaps not with a Kiwi accent.  Like myself, they have been unable to enter the mainstream workforce.

Mainstream employment is vital to the integration of immigrants into society.  Are there real career opportunities for professional immigrants in New Zealand?  If not, why encourage new immigrants when the business community refuses to take advantage of the skills and fresh ideas offered by immigrants already living here?

Joyce Reid

Source: NZ Herald Thursday 18 June 1998

Migrant Teacher Sick of Rejections

by Rebecca Walsh

A South African primary school teacher who has applied unsuccessfully for more than 200 positions since arriving in New Zealand is now considering leaving.  Louise Gullett arrived at the end of 1998 after family here told her the Ministry of Education was advertising for primary teachers.  With three years' experience in a Johannesburg school, she hoped to find a job quickly, but hundreds of applications and just three job interviews later she is feeling disillusioned and left questioning why no one wants her.

Ministry officials would not comment on an individual case but were surprised by her situation.

Mrs Gullett, who has New Zealand residency, was registered as a teacher soon after arriving in the country.  She has been working in an early childhood centre and at a private tutoring company.  "Every position I thought I was qualified for I applied for... "It didn't matter where I went so long as I could get a position in New Zealand."

She has completed a range of courses designed to help overseas teachers adapt to New Zealand schools, from Maori pronunciation and the Treaty of Waitangi to how to keep running records of student achievement.  She has also visited principals to introduce herself and drop off her curriculum vitae.

"I think I'm a good teacher.  I get results with the children.  When I'm tutoring I always get feedback that they are making a lot of progress."

Terry Morrison, the principal of Ngongotaha Primary School, interviewed Mrs Gullett for a job in 1999 and said he would have been happy to employ her.  "She was a very warm person, the sort of person I would have on my staff," he said.  "[But] someone with local experience who had relieved here got the job."

Mrs Gullett went to the ministry's Auckland office this month to find out where she was going wrong.  She said Charles Brown, the northern manager for Teach NZ, told her that about half the teachers who came from South Africa could not adapt to New Zealand classes.  "I got the impression he already judged me, coming from South Africa, with being racist.  It's not the case," she said.

But Mr Brown disputed that.  He said there was no anti-South African policy within the ministry.  "Worldwide, people will always prefer a good applicant from their own culture...  New Zealanders face the same thing abroad."

Mr Brown said that as the primary school roll bulge, which peaked in 1996 and 1997, moved through the system, competition for jobs was increasing.  Principals spoken to by the Herald said that although schools were receiving a reasonable number of applications for jobs, many were unsuitable.

Roger Harnett, principal of Browns Bay School and president of the Auckland Primary Principals Association, said a fulltime position advertised four months ago attracted 27 applications.  Half the applicants were from Asian countries and had little primary teaching experience.

At July 5, there were just under 100 primary teacher vacancies nationally.

Source: New Zealand Herald 13 July 2001 photo credit Martin Sykes

Mr Brown said, "Worldwide, people will always prefer a good applicant from their own culture...  New Zealanders face the same thing abroad."  Why might this be true, and is it valid?  If you want to know what I think, see What Does It Mean to Be Schooled?  Can countries really afford to promote insularity today?  Perhaps New Zealand students of Mrs Gullett would benefit from her background and perspective in ways they may not from a teacher of "their own culture"?  Why not stop immigration altogether if you don't want your culture "sullied"?  Because if a culture isn't dynamic, it atrophies.

Personally, I think schools, by having as one of their primary functions to teach "culture" and "patriotism" cause many problems for immigrants because it inculcates in citizens at a young age the idea that "born here is better."  Human nature is universal.  I think people should be judged on more substantive grounds than where they first saw the light of day.

Here's an example of culturalism taken to an extreme:

Families Are Game to Learn about the USA

by Craig Wilson

So you think you're patriotic?  Think you know a lot about America?  Prove it this holiday season.

Spirit of America: The All-American Family Trivia Game tests players' knowledge of the good old USA.  Put together in less than two months after the terrorist attacks, the game is a cross-country trip to Washington, DC, with the winner answering the most trivia questions correctly along the way.

"I went into a funk after September 11," says the game's inventor, Richard Levy.  "I was crawling into bed at 8 at night.  Then one day, it just hit me: What I could do was come up with a game."

America's highest point?  Number of verses in the national anthem?  It's all there: in the 1,500 questions about national landmarks, heroes and history.

"There's tremendous learning going on.  You're learning about the country as you go," says Levy.  The game, which retails for $24.99, is available exclusively at Toys R Us.

Source: USA Today Friday 14 December 2001

However, for an opposing opinion of aculturalism taken to its extreme, see the next article Global Rich ("They are citizens of a new world, loyal to a supranational world network.  In a war, which country will they fight for?")

Also see:

bulletMigrants Face Ruin - about 23 Asian investors who, like us, were promised a good return on their business migrant investment plus the return of the initial investment at the end of the qualifying period.  We all got back - absolutely nothing.

For more articles on immigration, emigration, undocumented workers, overstayers, how to get in: NZ and Australia, costs, H1-B workers, scams, and quality of life please click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index page for this Immigration section.

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