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Which is the world’s most useful passport? Not NZ

Want to know which country’s passport gives you visa-free entry to most countries around the world? Read on. For people who love to travel (who doesn’t?), having a passport that qualifies for visa-free entry to popular tourist destinations comes very handy. In fact, that is the main reason why most people seek a foreign passport – it opens doors to many countries which would otherwise be off limits, or have stringent (and expensive) visa regulations.

So which passport is most sought-after for international travel?

Bad news: New Zealand’s passport isn’t the world’s most useful passport.

Good news: It is still more powerful than Australian passport.

According to statistics released by website Good.is, the passport that gives visa-entry (or get visa on arrival) to maximum number of countries is that of the United Kingdom, Sweden and Finland. (See infographic below.)

Passport-holders from these countries get visa-free access to 173 countries around the world – that’s almost the entire world, isn’t it?

Close on the heels are the United States, Germany, Denmark and Luxembourg, which open doors to 172 countries.

Not to be left behind are Belgium, Italy and Netherlands with visa-free entry to 171 countries.

Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Portugal and Spain passport allows visaless entry to 170 nations.

Where does New Zealand stand? At number 18. New Zealand passport provides access to travellers to 168 countries; Australia’s passport provides access to 167 countries.

visafreePassport

 

Immigration News Work Abroad

Lawyer found guilty of immigration fraud

Work visa
A former New Zealand lawyer  has been found guilty of 93 immigration-related charges at Auckland District Court.

Albany-based Richard James Martin is found guilty of forgery, giving false or misleading information to an immigration officer, and providing immigration advice without immigration license or exemption for license.

Work visa

Between May 2009 and September 2010, the 49-year-old:

  • provided immigration advice to ten families through Richard Martin Immigration Limited
  • forged lawyers’ signatures on immigration documents
  • used licensed immigration advisers employed at his company to “sign off” visa applications of clients they had never met.

Zannah Johnston, prosecuting on behalf of the Crown on charges brought by the Immigration Advisers Authority and Immigration New Zealand (INZ), said: “Licensed immigration advisers were used to sign applications because Mr Martin was unable to.

“Some would say he used the advisers as puppets for rubber stamping. Mr Martin met with each of the clients, not the licensed advisers.

“Mr Martin told clients what the requirements were, what the best times were to make applications, sent letters to the Minister of Immigration and answered questions on how to fill in forms.”

Judge Mary Elizabeth Sharp said: “I found Mr Martin to be a witness of untruth. I am satisfied that he lied throughout his testimony. Ultimately, I am afraid that I reached the conclusion that if it suited him, Mr Martin would swear black was white.”

Mr Martin has been remanded in custody pending sentencing on 1 August 2014 at Auckland District Court.

Charges against Richard James Martin

  • 37 counts of Forgery
  • 35 counts of Supplying False Or Misleading Information to an Immigration Officer
  • 11 counts of Asking for or receiving fees for immigration advice when neither licensed nor exempt
  • Nine counts of Providing immigration advice when neither licensed nor exempt
  • One count of Holding out as an immigration adviser when neither licensed nor exempt

New Zealand law requires that immigration advice must be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority, unless exempt. Exempt people include lawyers who hold a New Zealand practising certificate.

Mr Martin previously surrendered his practising certificate.

Immigration News

Conference to discuss migrant voting in NZ

Discussing ways of encouraging ethnic communities to vote in the upcoming elections is one of matters on the agenda for an ethnic conference in Wellington this weekend.

The annual general meeting of Multicultural New Zealand, the Federation of Multicultural Councils, will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Eid_NZParliament1

Also on the agenda is a panel of political party representatives that will discuss policies relevant to migrant, refugee and ethnic communities, says a statement from Multicultural New Zealand.

The conference will also look at fundraising, working with volunteers, and a more topical theme – countering family violence.

Ambassador of Philippines Virginia H. Benavidez and Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown address delegates from 19 regional multicultural councils and three national councils for youth, women and senior citizens at the Wellington City Council offices from Friday 27 June to Sunday 29 June.

Also speaking at the conference are: Vanisa Dhiru (Volunteering New Zealand), Joris de Bres (former Race Relations Commissioner), Peter Dunne (United Future Party), Trevor Mallard (Labour Party), Jan Logie (Green Party), Sarah BridglandHill (Office of Ethnic Affairs), Ann Dysart (Ministry of Social Development) and Heather Newell (Foresee Communications).

Editorial Lifestyle News

India’s zest for fair skin creates odd jobs for white girls

Morgan Kane is not her real name. When she decided to share her story online, she chose a pen name. As many white girls working in India do – change their name for work.

I am not referring to shady or hanky-panky work – though some of the work borders in that area.

I am talking about legitimate though unusual work that white girls have started to pick up in India.

“Tonight, I am going to be a table! A human table wearing a glow in the dark fireman’s hat,” says Morgan Kane, one of the many white girls in Delhi, who pick up such odd jobs.

WhiteGirlAsTable

This is not human trafficking. Neither is it skin trade in its literal sense.

This trade is purely based on the colour of their skin, and probably  gender.

Indians’ fascination for fair skin has found a new expression in the form of hiring white girls (European girls as they are known in India), mostly for ‘display’.

The trend is growing in the northern region of India, where it fuels the ego of the host as they show off their power and wealth by showcasing exotic girls at weddings and private parties.

The girls, who have gained nickname ‘white trash’, are used for everything from modelling to ‘elite guests’ and as bartenders at events, to add glamour quotient.

“Why do patrons feel that being seen to be able to afford to hire or associate with white women in some way improves their social status and perception of pecuniary wealth?” asks one such Morgan Jane in another media report.

According to the media report, these girls earn as much as Rs 10,000 (US$170) per day, with some events extending over many days. While it may not sound like big money in dollar terms, India’s low cost of living makes the pay attractive.

Two prejudices are at play here.

First, the British rule caused an inferiority complex among Indians. White skin began to be considered superior.

Second, which is a corollary of the first, hiring white girls gives a boost to status of the Indian host.

It could also be argued that getting Caucasian people to do odd jobs becomes some kind of a redemption for 200-years of British rule in India.

Life has come a full circle, it seems.

“Back in the days of empire, no colonial Indophile worth their salt would have been without their harem of Indian entertainers,” writes Morgan who worked as a human table at a wedding.

“From snake charmers to sitar players – imperialists loved to surround themselves with what, to them, seemed exotic. Today, the roles have been reversed – an irony I mulled as I stood there, laden with drinks.”

To be fair, white girls have always found work in India for many decades. Initially Bollywood provided them jobs as dancers for songs, and more recently they began to be seen as cheerleaders in the popular Indian Premier League.

Also, having humans as tables at events is neither a new concept nor a derogatory one. See Strolling Tables, a San Deigo Spotlight Entertainment website that provides theme-based human tables for events. The concept was popularised by Russians, and is widely used in the Middle East.

Even in India, it is Russians who are active in this “white girls” industry, as Morgan explains: “Some of the girls – from my experience, mainly Russians – work full-time on contracts. They get paid upwards of Rs 80,000 a month (£800 – not bad at all in India), as well as having their accommodation and living expenses covered.

“However, these girls are pretty much unable to refuse work, no matter where or what it is or how long it lasts.”

Many of these girls take up these high paying jobs at the risk of being attacked, abused, molested and even raped.

In a country where people are blatantly bombarded with fairness cream advertisements not only for women, but also for men, a rise of an entire industry based on skin colour is setting a dangerous precedent.

“As a white woman participating in this industry and a client paying them to do so, you are not only profiting but perpetuating an already well-established beauty myth that lighter skin is better,” says Morgan, who realises that she is also adding to the difficulties of local girls.

“I can hardly complain of exploitation as a result of my alabaster skin in a country where millions are exploited every day for having the “wrong” skin tone.

“The main inequity, I felt, wasn’t one suffered by me; it was that I was earning double the amount of the native Indian girls who were also working at the event. And why? Because I’m Western and white.”

News Work Abroad

How many deaths before drug laws tightened?

Arun Kumar migrated to New Zealand from Fiji for a ‘safer’ future for him and his family. The morning of Tuesday 10 June 2014 turned out to be his last day in the country that he chose to bring up his children in.

At about 7am, two young boys, aged 12 and 13, entered his dairy as he got ready for early customers. One of the boys fatally stabbed the 57-year old dairy-owner who is now remembered by the community as a “loving, family man”.

Arun Kumar dairy owner killed in Auckland

Only about a fortnight earlier, another migrant fell victim to a vicious attack. Philippines-born Blesilda “Blessie” Gotingco was on her way home from work on 24 May 2014.

As she got off the bus, barely a few hundred meters from her home,  she was attacked by a repeat offender. Her dead body was found by the police search team the next day.

Police arrested a 27-year old man with previous convictions, who was under supervision with an ankle bracelet, says E2NZ website.  The accused was living just 1.4km from Blessie’s home, says the New Zealand Herald.

Arun Kumar’s death has evoked angry reactions (rightfully) from the community.

“We want to send a strong message that this is not acceptable in a country like New Zealand, where people have migrated for the betterment of their family and friends. To die in such a way is really saddening,” a family friend of Arun Kumar told TVNZ.

New Zealand is always considered to be a safer place by migrants coming from civil-strife-ridden countries like Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Fiji and Bangladesh.

However, the clean and green image of New Zealand that’s portrayed to prospective migrants often underplays the crime scene in the country. While large-scale organised crime is certainly low, the violent acts of desperate people, often on drugs, claim the lives of unsuspecting migrants who are often seen as easy targets.

The police as well as justice system acts swiftly as it did in Arun Kumar’s case – the accused boys were arrested and brought to court in less than 48 hours. However, Arun Kumar’s death brings up questions about other systemic failures:

1. Did the ambulance respond swiftly enough?

I am reminded of the murder of 29-year old liquor-store owner Navtej Singh in Manukau in 2008, when the police prevented ambulance staff from accessing the dying victim, despite the offending criminals having fled the crime scene. It was alleged that Navtej could have been saved if medical help was allowed in time. A police inquiry found that the 37-minute delay was “undesirable” and cannot be justified.

2. Did the police arrive in time?

We will need to wait for the police report to be made public on this one.

3. Did the parents of the boys raise them well?

Why were the boys on the street instead of in school, and what role did the parents play in their upbringing?

The parents of both boys, aged 12 and 13, are in jail or facing active criminal charges, says a report in the New Zealand Herald. Because the boys are teens, their names are suppressed. The Herald reported that both the parents of the 13-year old murder accused are in jail, and the boy was being looked after by his grandmother. The younger boy’s father too was in police custody this month on violence charges.

“Were the alleged offenders attending school regularly, if not where was the truancy service?” asks Phil Goff, Labour spokesperson for ethnic affairs.

“If his parents were themselves offenders what was being done to try to lead him down a different path? Why are young people able to become petty offenders without enough being done to stop them progressing to more serious crimes as in this case?”

4. What is our role as a community?

Where did we fail? Is our social system protecting ineffective parenting? Are we supporting dysfunctional families on benefits? As they say in Africa, it takes a village to raise a child. This beast (the accused) is a creation of the wider community, says New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) President Harshad Patel, in a report in the Indian News Link. 

By accepting children on the streets during school hours, by supporting parents who do not look after their children and by allowing gangs to proliferate, we are breeding criminals at an alarming pace. The offender knows that human rights exist for his security,” he says.

5. The Drug Issue

The Bigger question: why has New Zealand failed to control its drug problem?

According to the Drug Foundation of New Zealand, New Zealand has some of the higher per-capita drug-use rates in the developed world.

One in six (16.6%) New Zealanders aged 16–64 years had used drugs recreationally in the past year, according to the 2007/2008 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey.

It gets even worse – at least half of New Zealanders (49%) have used drugs at some point in their life – excluding alcohol, tobacco and even party pills.

The situation is bleak with our children – one in three children (below 18 years of age)  report drinking alcohol on more than three occasions in the past month.

One in four (24%) children of 16-17 years of age report using cannabis in the last year.

Substance abuse is a double-edged sword – it influences senses, and it creates thirst for immediate money and gratification.

Vulnerable migrants

This addiction is not only spoiling the future of a beautiful country, it is also exposing its most vulnerable communities – ethnic and migrant groups – to some of the most hideous and violent crimes in the country.

Denied equal job opportunities, migrants usually find themselves in ‘dangerous’ professions (in New Zealand):

Too often ethnic communities working in retail and service businesses were on the front line of crime, says Phil.

Sometimes, migrants don’t even need to be in a dangerous profession. Merely walking down the street could be fatal as 25-year old Indian student, Tarun Asthana, found out on 4 November 2013 after being punched to death outside McDonald’s in downtown Auckland.

In January 2014, Praveet Chahal was attacked by a bottle-wielding man on an Auckland street just a few meters away from her home. As she lay bleeding on the ground, she cried out for help, but none of the by-standers stepped in.

Indian attacked in Auckland

Praveet Chahal was viciously attacked by a stranger on an Auckland street as by-standers looked away. (Photo: Praveet Chahal)

Praveet suffered a broken nose, a fractured eye socket, extensive bruising and a big setback to her confidence. “I have never felt this violated in my entire life, for once in my life feel that my freedom has been taken away,” says Praveet in a Facebook post. The offender was on bail.

“In broad daylight (I) was attacked by an intoxicated pyscho who beat me up in front of more than 15 Fiji Indians who stood and watched the entire ordeal like they were watching some show while I screamed and yelled for help.

However, Praveet has regained her confidence and her faith in humanity. “I am still working towards bringing awareness so that people feel safe and get their independence and confidence back.

Migrants are easy prey as they are least likely to put up a fight, are struggling to adjust to new legal and cultural systems, are desperate to succeed and would like to stay out of trouble at any cost.

Police issue

High-crime areas in Auckland and around New Zealand are known to the law enforcing authorities. However, limited policing resources put our communities in these high risk areas in danger.

If the government kept cutting the budget for police in real terms that we would invite more crime by lowering the risk to criminals that they would be caught, says Phil.

“In Henderson, other shopkeepers told us they wanted a community police station and a more visible police presence in the shopping centre,” says Phil.

“They also told us that out-of-control young kids have been a problem in the community for quite a long time – kids that beat up other young people, shoplifted, pestered the public for money and painted graffiti.”

With elections approaching, the voters will have crime and safety at the top of their mind. Any government that concerns the safety of its people would stand a good chance of winning the trust and vote.

News

No English? No problem: App To Improve Doctor-Patient dialogue

A New Zealand clinician has developed a mobile app to improve communication between patients with limited English skills, and their medical staff.

Dr Janet Liang from Auckland hopes to improve access to medical advice for people with limited knowledge of the English language. (Photo: NZ Doctor)

The iOS app could be downloaded by hospital staff on their iPad and used to either ask questions, or explain treatment to patients.

Similarly, patients can use the app to communicate with their doctors and medical staff.

Dr Janet Liang, an intensive care specialist at Auckland’s North Shore Hospital,  spent almost five years in developing and fine tuning the app –  Listen Please.

“The app has been created out of my own professional observations about how we can better communicate with patients who don’t understand a lot of English, and for them to communicate with us more clearly when they cannot speak English or can’t speak at all,” says Janet, who believes that the app is not designed to do away with medical translators.

“Clinical translators do a fantastic job, but it sometimes isn’t practical to have one around all day, or sometimes they cannot be available quickly enough,” says Janet. The app could prove to be a life-saving tool in emergencies when no immediate translators are available, even among family members present.
Medical app iOS and Android

 

The beauty of the app lies in its versatility – it can be used in day-to-day conversations with inpatients, as well as in intensive care situations.

“The app allows for clinicians to ask simple questions that would be covered in a standard consultation, such as ‘are you in any pain?’ or ‘where do you feel pain?’”

The app offers two-way communication in that patients can also communicate with medical staff, for example, if they we wish to speak to a family member or to go to the toilet.

While there are other translation apps available including Google Translate, this app has been specifically designed for medical situations, and contains illustrations and photos to make communication faster and accurate.

 

Created for New Zealand, it contains written and audio translations in five main non-English languages in New Zealand – Samoan, Tongan, Cantonese, Korean and Mandarin.

There are plans to add more languages, including Hindi, Janet tells The Global Indian magazine. “I would love to include more languages, including Punjabi, although in New Zealand, Hindi is more common so that would probably be included prior. We’ll be guided of course by what the population demographics  indicate, and what population groups have the highest identified language barrier.”

As it is a stand alone app, it does not need internet access to work, which makes perfect sense, as it could be used in hospitals as well as clinics.

Janet was able to fund the development of the app after she won NZ$10,000 as prize money from the Health Informatics New Zealand Clinician’s Challenge in 2011 with her concept of Listen Please.

She received a further funding of $20,000 from the Waitemata DHB Asian Health Support Services, so that Janet could hire New Zealand mobile software company MEA to develop the app, according to a report in the NZ Doctor.

Janet then topped up the funding with $6000 from her own savings to bring the app on the iOS platform.

The proceeds from the sales of the app, available for NZ$12.99, would fund further improvements, and for adding more languages.

“I’m hoping proceeds from downloads will enable me to develop Listen Please further, so it becomes available on iPhones and on Android phones/digital tablets.”

 Listen Please

This is a mobile app to improve communication between doctors and their patients who cannot speak at all, or have a limited understanding of the English language.

Download Listen Please now

Operating system

iOS (May become available on Android later.)

Languages:

  • Samoan
  • Tongan
  • Korean
  • Chinese Cantonese
  • Mandarin

Modes

Patient Talks Mode: If a patient wants to communicate to the clinician, after their language is selected the patient can use the Patient Talks mode to communicate their needs e.g. wanting to speak to one’s family/ friends, wanting to go to the toilet.

Clinician Asks Mode: The clinician can take a basic history/perform an physical examination, or

Clinician Explains Mode: The clinician can explain what care is going on or to explain clinical procedures (NOT for gaining informed consent), e.g. inserting an intravenous cannula. There is a session log that records Yes/ No/ Don’t know answers so that the clinician can go away from the bedside and write down what has happened; this clears every time a new language is chosen.

Price

NZ$12.99

Business Lifestyle Money News Work Abroad

Can you save $2550 by carpooling?

The week beginning 9 June marks Kiwi Carpooling Week in New Zealand, and Auckland Transport wants to encourage drivers to consider car-pooling as an environment-friendly gesture which also saves money.

carpooling effect

I asked Auckland Transport – does carpooling really save money? Do they have any numbers to support the claim?

Auckland Transport believes carpooling helps us in saving costs of petrol and parking.

And these savings can be as high as $2550 a year.

They provided some numbers:

If two people carpooled for a 15km journey, this is what their daily costs would look like:

  • Petrol prices = $1.50 each
  • Parking cost = up to $9 per day each
  • Total daily cost = $21 for two people
  • Savings per person = $10.50 per day; $52.50 per week (carpooling 5 days); $210.00 per month (carpooling 5 days a week for 4 weeks); $2,550 per year

Yes, you could save up to $2,550 annually by carpooling, and put that saving into paying off your mortgage sooner.

Auckland Transport has even provided an online cost calculator so you can figure out how much you could save – www.letscarpool.govt.nz

But what’s the biggest hurdle to carpooling? Timing. Each person has their own time to go to work and come back from work. Also, because of the location constraint, commuters are limited to consider their own work colleagues as co-passengers, which also means you would typically carpool with people you get along with.

Auckland Transport helps you with the first part of this problem – finding a car buddy.

You can visit the site to find people living and working near you who are looking to join a carpool, or talk to you friends and colleagues about setting up your own.

Just put the starting point, destination and journey date and the website will find suitable rides for you.

Already, nearly 5000 Aucklanders have signed up on the website for carpooling, which increases your chances of finding the right carpooling partner.

What if you don’t find someone that lives nearby and works near your workplace? You will need to be a bit flexible.

You don’t need to carpool all the way to work. Consider sharing a car to a central place, and jumping on a train or bus from there.

Also look at the larger picture. With more people carpooling, there will be fewer cars on the road, less traffic congestion, and less pollution.

And there is the benefit of human interaction, instead of shuffling through mundane radio stations.

Having another person in the car makes your journey more enjoyable and interesting, says Auckland Transport’s Manager Community Transport Matthew Rednall.

Need more reason to carpool? “Another benefit of having two people in the car is that you can use some transit lanes.”

Carpooling could be a good opportunity to network with other professionals which could open up doors for the next big job opportunity or business potential.

Business Immigration News

How to spot immigration scams

New Zealand is a country of dreams for many poor families in rural India, who see the Land of Long White Cloud as their escape destination from years of toil and turmoil.

Migrate to Australia

In their desperation, these migrants are willing to go to any length to secure a visa to New Zealand, a visa to their dreams.

Which makes these migrants highly gullible to immigration scams that promise quick visa to New Zealand, along with a job offer.

Such scams have resurfaced as the net migration to New Zealand is expected to grow this year.

Scammers phone Indian nationals living in New Zealand claiming to be from Immigration New Zealand. They demand payment to a Western Union account in India and threaten deportation.

What makes this scam unique is that the scammers have managed to make their calls appear to have come from the official Immigration New Zealand contact centre number.

Jarrod Rendle is concerned at the number of people being caught out by this scam. He leads the Advice, Information and Education team at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

“The callers are quite persistent and aggressive and they have personal details of the person they are speaking to which makes the caller think it could be genuine.”

“The calls also appear to be coming from the Immigration Contact Centre number, but in fact they are not. We call this practice a caller id spoofing scam,” says Jarrod.

Immigration New Zealand first posted a warning about the scam on its website on 30 October 2013. Since then almost 300 Indian nationals have reported being called by the scammers, with reported losses of close to $65,000, according to figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Last year New Zealanders lost $4.8 million to scams. This year, this number has already reached $1.7 million.

How to protect yourself from falling prey to immigration scam

Knowing about the common types of scams and the typical red flags can help avoid being scammed, advises Jarrod.

Remember, banks, Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue will never email, call or SMS people to ask for information or money to be sent using money transfer services.

If you receive one of these calls do not pay the money. Contact the New Zealand Police or report the call to Scamwatch.

An official Facebook group by the ministry runs real-time scam alerts.

Don’t get scammed

  • If you find the call suspicious, hang up immediately.
  • If it doesn’t seem right, be cautious, double check details first.
  • Do not pay money to anyone you have never met.
  • Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions. Your personal details are also very valuable to scammers, they will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can.
  • Warn others. If you have been targeted by a scam, report it straight away to Scamwatch, and help prevent others from becoming the next scam victim.
Lifestyle News

New laws for dispersing ashes in NZ concerning

The religious Indian practice of scattering the ashes of a loved one after cremation may become costlier to follow in Auckland — New Zealand’s largest city and home to the largest group of Indians in the country.

burial, ashes scattering new zealand

Auckland Council is considering a by-law which, if approved, will require family members to:

  • seek council permission before scattering the ashes of their dead family member, and
  • pay for such permission.

Read the Auckland Council Cemeteries and Crematoria By Law here (PDF)

A general read of the by-law indicates that Auckland Council is trying to rationalise a number of differing by-laws inherited from the legacy councils that preceded the creation of the unitary council in Auckland.

I can understand the need for uniformity. It seems legacy council for former Waitakere region contained provision for scattering of ashes. So did Franklin and Papakura, whereas other regions had varying restrictions.

However there was no consultation with many ethnic bodies, including:

  • The Council’s own Pacific and Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panels the Maori Statutory Board
  • Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs
  • The Office of Ethnic Affairs
  • The Auckland Interfaith Council
  • The Hindu Council of New Zealand
  • The Federation of Islamic Associations and
  • The New Zealand Jewish Council  as per a statement released by Multicultural New Zealand.

And these are only some of the ethnic bodies in New Zealand.

Was it just rationalization of laws across the Auckland region, or are there any environmental or health concerns arising from the practice of dispersal of ashes? And if there are such safety concerns, are these borne out of the ‘mainstream’ culture’s less-informed opinion?

If the cremation happens at 800 degree Celsius, what is left of human body is pure carbon in the form of ashes. There are no apparent health concerns in other developed countries. And if there are health concerns, then a complete ban on dispersal of ashes will be in order.

Also, putting so many restrictions, including bureaucratic approval, will introduce delay in the dispersal of ashes, something that’s not advisable in Hindu tradition.

Describing the plan as “heavy handed, unnecessary and bureaucratic,” Labour’s Ethnic Affairs spokesperson Phil Goff says there has been insufficient consultation with the public and in particular with the ethnic communities, and that the decision is more likely to create problems than resolve any.

“Families almost always conduct the scattering of their loved ones ashes with care and consideration.

“The last thing we want to impose on grieving families are bureaucratic procedures, long time delays and additional expenses all for the simple duty of scattering the ashes of their loved ones,” says Phil.

Another restriction put by the council is on the number of people allowed to attend the process of placing the casket in the cremator. It again shows lack of awareness of Hindu rituals.

It is customary to have four members of the immediate family to carry the casket in to the cremator, says National List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi who feels they are likely to have direct impact on the Indian community.

“The council bylaw limits that to two.”

“It is also part of the Indian tradition to scatter ashes into a river or sea. The council bylaw further restricts areas where ashes can be scattered.”

“Any decision that has such impact on areas of such cultural sensitivity ought to be made after active consultation with these communities.”

Kanwaljit  says he intends to submit to the council to express his personal concerns about the proposed changes.

Phil Goff has written to the mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, asking for the council to think again.

Unfortunately, consultation on the issue is closed, but the council would do well to re-consider its decision.

While I am on the issue of consultation, I won’t put the blame entirely on the government. Numerous studies have shown that migrants, especially those from less developed countries, show apathy towards political activities. This includes voting as well as consultation.

Many ethnic communities, including Indians, are apathetic towards consultation. First generation Indians were not used to being ‘consulted’ extensively by law-makers in their country of birth.

A typical response to consultation in India is: “It’s a futile exercise. Which government has ever listened to people’s voices?” This could be partly true, but it creates a catch-22 situation. Lack of participation in consultation almost creates the environment of apathy on both sides – the government and its people.

So, as much as the onus lies on the council to consult, it is also on us migrants to play an active role in this.

Another critical role is of community leaders who are expected to raise the issue.

Ashes: Maori and Indian views clash

While dispersal of ashes in rivers is a Hindu ritual, such a practice is unacceptable for many Maoris, as was evident during the consultation for the  Burial and Cremation Act review last year.

Law Commissioner Dr Wayne Mapp said last year it was clear, for example, scattering ashes in rivers or on the foreshore was culturally unacceptable. “There was already conflict about it in Wellington, where Sikh and Hindu communities wanted to scatter ashes in the Hutt River, the practice finding offence.”

— Vaibhav Gangan is the managing editor of The Global Indian magazine – published since 2004.

News

Indian words that confuse foreigners

When I first visited New Zealand, I asked for directions to the nearest petrol pump and was greeted by confused looks. Apparently, what I was looking for was a gas station, where you get gas, not petrol.

There are many such words that we Indians regularly use which are uncommon in western culture.

How many of you have gone for a movie and asked for “normal” water, because your throat is bad (I mean you have a sore throat), and you don’t want to drink cold water.

 

 

Or you have gone shopping, bought a toaster and asked the salesperson for a “fresh” piece, because you don’t want the one on display?

I know, we all do that. Here’s a list of words and phrases that Indians use freely, but are not understood by native speakers of the language.

Typical words Indians use that confuse foreigners

Signal: This is a word that Indians use for traffic lights. Preferred word: Set of lights or traffic lights.

Prepone: There is no such word in the language of the British, but this word is prevalent in India where it is used as an acronym to postpone. Preferred word: bring forward.

Hanky Panky: OK, this one is really funny. My friend told her kids who were being picked up their friend’s mother for a sleepover, “Have fun but no hanky panky!” The lady who had come to pick up the kids nearly fainted. In India, hanky panky is broadly used for anything that’s shady. In the western world, it generally refers to sexual behaviour that’s dubious or unacceptable.

Give tests: Indians don’t “take” tests, they “give” tests, an usage which is a legacy of literal translation from an Indian language.

Rubber: Often used for an eraser in India.

Mugging: Indian students cramp up a lot of information just before “giving” exams. It’s called mugging.

Out of station: This phrase is used to describe going away, usually out of city or town.

Tiffin: Yes, that’s lunch-box, but in India it is tiffin, whether you are going to school or work. And by the way, in India, you don’t go to ‘work’, you go to ‘office’.

Same to you: Indians use this instead of ‘wish you the same’. They also say “Thanks very much”.

Having: When Indians great creative, they use ‘having’ not as a word but something else. This is how it is used: “Our company is having offices in…“. It is also used as: “I am not having that information” which means “I don’t know”.

Based out of: If you ask an Indian “Where is your office?”, don’t be surprised if he tells you, “I am based out of Auckland”. Similarly, someone’s office could be located “at” Auckland, not “in” Auckland.

Pan-India: Yes, many Indian companies have “pan-India” presence, which implies they have offices in many Indian cities.

Revert back: Indians love to use the word revert and we don’t stop there. We attach “back” to it and say “I will revert back to you.” Revert implies “getting back to someone”, and doesn’t need the extra “back”.

Pressurized: When an Indian tells you “I am pressurized”, it does not mean what you think it does. He means that he is hard pressed for time.

Yesterday night: I know it’s an oxymoron, but it is a common phrase used in India.

Nothing doing: There’s no accurate translation of this Indian phrase, but it loosely implies “no arguments on this”. However it is used in a positive tone among friends, like inviting someone for dinner: “We will see you for dinner this Saturday. Please don’t make any excuses. Nothing doing!”

Cousin brother/sister: OK, there’s redundancy in this phrase but I guess Indians use it to specify the gender of the cousin.

Next to next: Would you be able to guess what it means? Here’s how it is used: “If you can’t come next week, how about next to next week?”

You’re coming or what: This means “Are you coming or not?”

Solid: OK, this does not refer to state of matter. It is used as a superlative. “We had solid fun.” “What a solid rain this morning!”

Hard: This word is used in place of “difficult”. Like, when you ask a student, “How was the exam?” He says, “Hard!”

On my face: Again a literal translation from a regional language, Indians may tell you “on your face” that you are fat.

Your good name? In India, it is common and not at all unfriendly to ask a stranger their name. Indians soften the blow by adding “good” or “sweet” to the question. This practice is absent in the western world, and foreigners are often perplexed by the intimidating question.

Do you have any favorite Indian phrases that confuse you? Share in comments below.

Immigration Lifestyle News

New to New Zealand? Know these Kiwi phrases and slang

When someone first asked me, “Do you have a brolly? It’s raining!” I was as clueless as a pirate wearing two eye-patches.

Kiwi slang can be daunting not just for new migrants but seasoned settlers.

Don’t get caught off guard at the next work barbie. (Read on if you are not too sure what a barbie is.)

Familiarize yourself with this Kiwi speak.

Maori Haka, New Zealand slang, Kiwi phrases, New Zealand sayings

Maori haka is a spectacular but daunting dance to watch, and is usually performed at the beginning of an event.

 

Understanding Kiwi terminology and sayings

Here are some of the most commonly used Kiwi words, sayings and phrases that confuse new migrants the most.

Snowed under: very busy

Anklebiter: A toddler or small child

Bach: A holiday home

Barbie: A barbecue or shortened to BBQ.

Banger: A sausage

Bicky: A biscuit, also called crackers

Bash: A party

Brolly: Umbrella

Cardie: A cardigan. Also called a jumper.

Coconut: A pacific islander (Offensive word)

Chilly Bin: An ice box for keeping beer or food cool. (similar to an esky in Australia)

Across the ditch: In Australia. Also referred to as Down Under

Curry Muncher: An Indian. (Yes that’s what they call all of you from the subcontinent.)

Dole: Unemployment benefit or social welfare payment paid by WINZ (Work and Income New Zealand.)

Dairy: A small shop in the neighbourhood. Also known as the corner store.

Fag: A cigarette. Also used as “Let’s go for a fag”, which refers to smoking.

P: refers to the drug Methamphetamine

Footy: Rugby or football. Also refers to rugby union or rugby league

G’day or gidday: It’s a short form for Good Day.

Mate: friend. It is common to call a stranger a mate.

Aye or eh: Pronounced as letter “a”, Kiwis use this instead of a question mark, to convert a normal sentence into a question. For example, “It’s hot, eh”. Also used in place of ‘what’ if the listener didn’t hear you or doesn’t understand what you are saying.

Heaps: A lot of something. For e.g., my backyard has heaps of firewood.

Hoodie: A jacket with a hood.

Jandals: Thongs, flip-flops

Speedos: swimwear

Kia Ora: Hello in the Maori language.  Propounced as ki-ora.

L&P: New Zealand’s brand of soda. Stands for Lemon and Paeroa

Oi: To get someone’s attention if someone is within sight but not paying attention

Old Lady: Used for wife or girlfriend

Old man: Used for father

On the piss: Gone out for drinking

Piss: Beer

Pissed: 1. Drunk, intoxicated. 2. Angry (He is really pissed at you)

Pom or Pommie: Used for a person from the UK

Tall poppy syndrome: This is a phrase used for commonly observed New Zealand attitude of being modest about one’s achievements.

She’ll be alright: Another trait of New Zealanders who like to get on with life and dealing with problems without whining or complaining.

Tangi: A Maori word which means funeral ceremony. Not to be confused with Hangi which is a traditional Maori way of cooking.

Haka: A Maori dance which you will usually see before the beginning of a rugby match.

Trolley: Shopping cart.

Truckie: A truck driver.

Whanau: Family

(Source: NZ Guide)

Do you know any other slang but confusing words used by New Zealanders? Share them in comments below.

Business Loans Money News

Want to earn $8000 from home? Get ready to be scammed

“A single mother earned $8000 from Google Adsense in one month. Find out how!” says an internet advertisement,  targeting unsuspecting prospects.

New Zealand is hit by many internet scams, with the latest being ‘work from home‘ or ‘part-time’ job scams, which typically target students or at-home mothers.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says an internet security expert.

Because the jobs are advertised on typical job portals where genuine employers post job ads, job-seekers often trust these scammers.

How It Works

New Zealand’s Consumer Affairs department explains the scam: You see an ad in a spam email, or on a website banner, and it is just the kind of work you are looking for:

  • working from home
  • good rate of pay
  • not much work.

Don’t fall prey to these scams, because fraudsters are either trying to steal your money or your identity.

These scams try to use attractive job ads as a gateway for:

  • money laundering
  • pyramid schemes
  • or upfront payment fraud – a scam which asks you to send money upfront for a product or ‘reward’ later.

Protect yourself from employment scams

Look for employment through well-known recruitment websites or reputable recruitment agencies, advises Consumer Affairs. Also it helps to be suspicious for anything that sounds too good.

Here’s what you can do to spot a scam:

  • Be suspicious of online ads promoting the opportunity to work at home – most of them are scams.
  • Contact your bank if you have received money into your bank account that you believe to be illegal. If you have any problems, contact the Banking Ombudsman for guidance.

Report scams

Another mistake people make is they keep quiet if they have been a victim of a scam. Who in their right mind wants to be seen as stupid, or greedy or both?

However, this only strengthens the odds for scamsters to succeed.

If you have been affected by a scam, please report it to Consumer Affairs’ Scamwatch. Your personal details will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Consumer Affairs have even created a Facebook page where New Zealanders like you and me are reporting new scams almost every day. Head over to the Facebook page for some entertainment, if nothing else. You will be surprised at the ingenious ways used by some scamsters.

Other frauds and scams in New Zealand

Other than employment scams, Kiwis are fallen prey for credit card scams, ATM skimming, dating scams, computer hacking, identity scams and phone scams.

Identity theft

With people putting pictures of themselves and their family on social media, identity theft is one of the easiest thefts that could happen to anyone onliine.

One Kiwi lady found a picture of her horse on a horse-trading website. A picture of her horse was stolen and published with a “For Sale” advertisement in an overseas market. She managed to get the website to take the picture down, only to find another advert spurring up somewhere else, almost instantaneously, the lady said in a post on the ScamsNZ FB page.

Travel scam

Another person reported Air New Zealand scam, where scamsters (obviously not from Air New Zealand) call up and offer heavy discounts on Air New Zealand airfares.

Air New Zealand has been contacted by people who had received automated phone calls claiming to be from Air New Zealand offering “significant credits” to be redeemed on Air New Zealand bookings, the airline’s spokesperson Brigitte Ransom, told Stuff.

Air New Zealand has confirmed that it is not offering any special discounts on international travel via automated phone calls.

In fact, holiday scams and air ticket scams are common in New Zealand. In 2013 alone, as many 63 Kiwis lost $38,000 to travel scams, says Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise spokeswoman Peta Baily Gibson.

Lonely? your love is waiting

Many New Zealanders have fallen trap to a Facebook predator, only to find the imposter to be much older, or with criminal intentions. Online predators often target younger girls, or even boys, who are vulnerable and trusting.

“Go online for the right reasons, ignore those who write in capital letters and weed out those who can’t even spell their own job title,” advises Andrew Bonallack in the New Zealand Herald.

Tax refund scam

How many of you have dreamt of taking a windfall from Inland Revenue in the form of tax refunds? I know. I have too. But that’s where the good story ends.

Many people have reportedly received a door knock from someone claiming to be from the tax department and offering a tax refund.

Has anyone ever heard of tax guys going door to door offering refund checks?

“Just to be clear, Inland Revenue will never telephone, email or knock on your door regarding your tax refund,” Inland Revenue’s group manager customer services, Eleanor Young, told media.

“Neither will we ask for your credit card details or monetary payment in order to receive your refund.”

The scamsters are so bold that they have even used official logos of major brands and government departments, including Inland Revenue.

Consumer Affairs department offers ready guide to use in case you suspect a scam or have been a victim.

 

 

News

Want to stay young? Learn more languages

Here’s good news for most Indians who are bilingual.

In a study conducted by the UK’s University of Edinburgh, it was found that those who spoke more than one language were able to slow down the aging of their brain.

teaching, learning, language, biligual, study, education, school, college

What is more reassuring is that the additional language could be learnt at any age and still receive the same benefits of good brain health.

The study of 262 people found that reading, verbal fluency and intelligence improved.

The research, published in Annals of Neurology confirmed that learning a new language helped in developing cognitive functions.

The lead of the research Dr Thomas Bak, who works at the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, studied  262 volunteers from Edinburgh at the age of 11, and then again in their seventies.

Dr Bak confirmed that people who spoke more than one language had better cognitive abilities compared to what would have been expected if they spoke only one language.

And it didn’t matter at what age the second language was learnt.

Dr Bak also completed another study in India where most people are bilingual. This study found that being bilingual could delay dementia by many years.

So there you go – you have something to be thankful for if you are an Indian. Your brain is likely to remain younger compared to your western counterparts where being bilingual is not as prevalent as in India.

For those who are not Indians or bilingual, there’s still hope. Enroll to learn a foreign language. It will stand you in good stead in your old age.

News

Have heart, will donate: football club shows way for organ donation

While Brazil gets ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world – FIFA 2014, one the country’s biggest football clubs is in news for a different reason.

Sport Club Recife, one of the top teams in the north-east of Brazil, has channelized Brazilians’ love for football to a cause that’s of high relevance in the country.

The club asked its fans to become “immortal fans” by donating their organs upon their death.

They conveyed the message through a video that was shown to the fans at every match at the club’s Ilha do Retiro stadium.

The video shows an organ recipient say: “I promise that your eyes will keep on watching Sport Club Recife.”

Within two years, the club managed to sign up 66,000 fans as organ donors.

The waiting list for organ donors has been reduced to zero in Recife, and the neighboring regions have also benefited positively from the initiative.

Pernambuco’s Institute of Integrated Medicine, which used to perform from five to seven heart transplants a year, ended up performing 28 transplants last year, Fernando Figueira, director of the institute told BBC.

But it is not just sufficient to get fans to sign up as organ donors. It is important to get them to let their relatives know. As per local laws in Brazil, it is the family members that can decide about organ donation after the person’s death.

Efforts are being made to ensure that donors are creating awareness among family members.

The success of the scheme has attracted other clubs around the world, including Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, to replicate the scheme.

 

 

Immigration News Opinion Work Abroad

OPINION: Immigration policy may stall growth in NZ

ImmigrationAttorney

 

Migrate to AustraliaNew Zealand’s xenophobia, rather its politicians’ attempt to capitalize on xenophobia, has raised its ugly head again.

This time it is Labour leader David Cunliffe, who has blamed migrants for housing crisis and has suggested putting brakes on immigration following Treasury’s prediction that net migration may cross the 40,000 mark very soon.

If Cunliffe has his way, New Zealand could curb the projected migration levels of 40,000 to just in the “zone of between 5,000 and 15,000”.

Cunliffe wants “enough new migrants to fill our skill gaps but not so many that it overwhelms our housing market or the ability of our schools and our hospitals to cope”.

How convenient! Has he done research to learn about the number of migrants serving in New Zealand’s healthcare sector?

In the case of hospitals, he seems to be forgetting that without migrants as staff at all levels, they would gradually grind to a halt, says the NZ Herald columnist Brian Rudman.

It reminded me of the early years of 2000s, when net migration was as high, and there was a wide-spread feeling of resentment against migrants – Asians specifically, as they look and sound different.

However, those were the times when New Zealand economy was growing at a record rate of 3% to 3.5%. Individual incomes were high; people had steady jobs and spending rate was comparable to most developed countries.

We don’t have the same scenario now. The leading economies of the world haven’t recovered from the historic recession, with no clear signs of better days ahead.

This is a time to make the most use of available resources and bat on, so that New Zealand economy is able to create a distinct competitive advantage on global platform, despite its geographic remoteness and small market size.

This is possible by attracting the best talent from around the world in face of growing competition for talent from bigger economies like the US, the UK, Canada and of course, our fortunate cousin Australia.

Instead, policymakers like Cunliffe are busy finding ways to protect the sentiments of homegrown Kiwis, and ride on the anti-migrant wave.With elections around the corner, and poor voter perception, Cunliffe seems to be trying everything he could to revive his campaign.

However, let’s not politicize the issue.

If Asian population is expected to hit 800,000 in another decade, then it should be seen as an opportunity, not threat.

Let’s not drive skill-based migration, which benefits a few cities like Auckland, at the cost of other regions.

Auckland is a major winner from the government’s skilled-based immigration policies, says analyst Rodney Dickens of Strategic Risk Analysis Ltd.

“Wellington and Canterbury benefit to a moderate extent, while Canterbury benefits form the rebuilding-related skill-based policy.  All other regions are double losers as a result of the skilled-based immigration policies,” says Dickens in his latest report (PDF).

“Skill-based immigration policies would appear to be great at ensuring the largest group of immigrants, excluding Kiwis returning form OE, offer skills that fit with the evolving economy.

“However, the evolving economy and the skilled-based immigration policies both favour large urban centres over other centres.  This is having a significant impact on regional economic growth, retail spending, residential building and house prices.

“Restricting where immigrants can live would be self-defeating.  In time many skilled immigrants would end up filtering to the major urban centres even if they were originally restricted to living in provincial towns and cities.”

Dickens recommends an immigration policy that puts less emphasis on skills and gives more importance to hard work.

“If the criteria were relaxed to include hard-working people with lower formal
qualifications, it would create a more balanced playing field from a regional perspective,” argues Dickens.

“If this were done it would allow regions with smaller urban centres to better compete in part because they offer much more affordable housing costs compared to income levels than the large urban centres.”

“It would allow regions with cheaper housing costs to compete for immigrants on a much more equal footing with regions dominating new economy job creation.”

Entertainment News Travel

Top Must-Have Android Apps for Indians

Indians around the world use many Android apps either to stay in touch with what’s happening in India, or to take care of personal matters like banking, messaging, phone calls and so on.

The Global Indian profiles some of these best Android apps for Indians living abroad.

Music

Saavn: This is by far the most popular and most entertaining music app for both Android and iOS. The music is free and includes not just latest Bollywood music, but also provides access to a collection of Indian regional, and even English music. The most popular feature is the staff-curated playlists for various genres.
From the newest songs to hard-to-find classics, Saavn’s catalog provides songs in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Gujarati, Malayalam, and Bhojpuri.

Download

Travel

MakeMyTrip: Planning to book tickets for domestic travel by air or train? Use MakeMy trip app to compare fares and timings of trains and flights. It even offers options to book hotels, but you would be better off contacting hotels directly for bookings.

Download

iXigo Trains: While Indian Railways‘ official IRCTC website is notorious for slow speed and downtime, this iXigo web app works much better. While this is not the official IRCTC app, it helps you find train tickets, find PNR status, and get accurate train running information. There are no ads in the app.  It even lets you find budget hotels in most Indian cities, classify them by area, get the best hotel deals and call hotels for free and book online! The makers of this app have even gone a step further – the app can scans your SMS for PNRs and provide PNR status change updates and delay notifications.

Download

AskLaila: If you are looking phone numbers and addresses of local businesses, you can download AskLaila app for Android phones.

Download

Culture

Indian festivals and holidays: Planning a visit to India and not too sure when the holidays and festivals are? Use this app for  a list of all the major Indian festivals and holidays.

Features:
1. Instantly know which holidays fall on which dates.
2. Short 4 line description of each holiday.
3. Link to Wikipedia article for the selected holiday for further reading

Download

Salah Timings: This Android app provides Islamic prayer timings (Salat), and shows you the direction to Mecca from anywhere in the world. For devout Muslims, it’s a handy tool for religious observance.

Download

Shopping

Now NRIs can send gifts to India with a click of a button, thanks to many mobile apps developed by leading online shopping sites like Flipkart, Amazon and eBay. With growing competition among these online shopping sites, the prices are highly competitive. Some of these apps also show bargains and special offers.

Flipkart: Flipkart is by far the most popular shopping website for India and offers a range of products from apparel to books, kitchen appliances and much more.
Download

Amazon: Now shop on Amazon.in via Amazon global shopping application

Download

eBay: eBay is not yet big in India but in case you like something on eBay, you can use this app which provides listings on eBay.in too.

Download

Snapdeal: Snapdeal is not as big as leading shopping portals, but offers good customer experience and a range of products. Use this official app to shop on Snapdeal.

Download

Sports

Indians’ love for cricket is legendary. It is no wonder that some of the cricket apps for Android are very popular among Indians. However, football and other games are also gaining popularity with Indian audience. Here’s our round-up of popular sport apps for Android.

Sports schedules including FIFA World Cup: The month-long 2014 FIFA World Cup action begins on 12 June. Catch every match with this football app for the 2014 Football World Cup – get game results on-the-go!

This app provides mobile guide to match schedules, standings, and venues. As the competition unfolds, the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final match-ups will be revealed.

Download

CricketNext Live: This is a very popular Android app for live cricket score and other updates.

Download

Cricbuzz: Crickbuzz offers scores of popular cricket matches.

Download

ESPNCricInfo: With comprehensive access to popular cricket matches, ESPNCricInfo has put some of the best information about cricket into this official mobile app.

Download

News

Stay in touch with the latest news about India and Indians with some of the best mobile apps developed my Indian news media.

NDTV: You can watch news videos and live news updates from NDTV on this Android mobile app.
Download

IBNLive for Android: This mobile app for CNN-IBN offers live news from one of the popular news channels from India.

Download

MSN India News: For some unbiased news about India, tune in to MSN India news which is owned by Yahoo!
Download

Times of India: Official Android application of the popular Indian daily.
Download

Banking and finance

Many NRIs have accounts in India and would find it easier to keep track of their banking transactions with an Android app. Many of these apps let you complete netbanking transactions like paying utility bills, paying a relative in India, renew fixed deposits and request account statements.

You can also download applications for monitoring your stock market investments.

iMobile: Transact with your ICICI Bank account with this mobile app for Android users.
Download

State Bank Freedom: Whether you have your PF with State Bank or your fixed deposits, you can access your details with this official mobile app for State Bank of India customers.

Download

Citibank: Many customers of Citibank have accounts in India. You can access your account with this application developed by Citibank.

Download

Standard Chartered Bank: This app lets you complete Netbanking transactions in your StanChart account with the click of a button.

Download

ICICI Stock Watch: Use this app to get updates on various equity stocks trading on leading Indain exchanges including BSE and NSE.

Download

Moneycontrol Markets: This Adroid application provides updates on not just Indian but also global equities markets in real-time. A must-have app for serious stock investors.

Download

Did we miss any app? Please suggest your favorite Android app in the comments below.

News

Deported from NZ, kidney patient dies in Fiji

Indian MP New Zealand

There’s an outrage in the migrant community in New Zealand following the death of a kidney patient who was deported out of New Zealand.

Sanil Kumar was waiting for a kidney transplant to save his life. His family, friends and well-wishers had already raised NZ$130,000 needed for the surgery, since he was not eligible for state-funded medical treatment.

His cousin, a New Zealand citizen, had already started the tissue-matching procedure to be a kidney donor to save Sanil.

However, the New Zealand associate minister for immigration, Nikki Kaye, declined to intervene in his deportation back to Fiji last month.

He passed away yesterday in Fiji’s Loutuka Hospital, One News reported. It is intriguing, to put it mildly, why someone who was on a life-threatening disease and had the money to be treated in New Zealand, was sent back to Fiji where medical facilities are known to be not comparable to New Zealand.

“Where would have been the harm to NZ if Sanil was allowed to get his operation here?” asks Labour MP Rajen Prasad, in a tweet.

The New Zealand Immigration system has been utterly heartless as Sanil had a kidney donor within his family and his community were busy raising the $130,000 needed for the transplant operation, says Rajen, in a  statement.

Indian MP New Zealand“He was deported, to what I predicted in April, would be his almost certain death as he simply wasn’t given the chance to have the operation in New Zealand. It was also clear a month ago that the type of dialysis treatment he had been receiving in New Zealand was not available in Fiji.

“A sensible Minister and an intelligent Immigration system would have understood that this was a life and death issue for Sanil.

In her defence, the associate minister has put the blame of the ministry of health.

In a statement explaining her decision, Nikki says she received advice from the Ministry of Health that appropriate dialysis services were available for Sanil in Fiji before she made her decision. If only she had cared to read a Stuff news story as early as 21 November 2013, which confirmed that Fiji did not have facilities to treat Sanil.

It was a life or death situation for Sanil because the Kidney Foundation of Fiji told Stuff reporter, Monica Tischler, peritoneal dialysis isn’t available in Fiji.

The Foundation says only haemodialysis is available as the peritoneal option is costly and most of the patients using it died because of uncontrollably high infection rates, Monica wrote in the Western Leader (Stuff) article.

“If I have go back to Fiji I will die,” Sanil told the reporter.

The 30-year old plumber had been working in New Zealand on a work visa since 2010. Immigration New Zealand declined to renew his visa in July 2013 as there were New Zealanders who could do the job.

Being on work visa in New Zealand, Sanil was ineligible for taxpayer-funded healthcare. His family, however, was arranging funds for his kidney transplant.

“Nikki Kaye has based her decision not to intervene on a Ministry of Health report to her which states that patients may receive three months free treatment for local patients from the Fijian Government during which time they ‘need either to find a live donor and be prepared to pay for their dialysis treatment thereafter (FJ$32,000 per year),” Rajen had said in a statement on 23 April, soon after Sanil’s deportation.

“Fiji does not perform kidney transplants but sometimes sends patients to India if a donor can be found,” Rajen had said.

Immigration News Work Abroad

Can I keep Indian passport after becoming NZ citizen?

Many Indians in New Zealand continue to hold Indian passports after becoming New Zealand citizens – either out of ignorance or willful intention (claiming ignorance).

work visa new zealand

The Indian High Commission in New Zealand has appealed to such Indians to surrender their Indian passports.

“Of late, many cases have been coming to the notice of this High Commission where the applicants have not surrendered their Indian Passports within three years of acquisition of New Zealand citizenship,” says the announcement on the High Commission’s website.

“In some cases, the applicants have gone even further and used the Indian passports for travel after acquisition of foreign nationality.”

People often confuse PIO status with dual citizenship. This is not true.

The Indian Citizenship Act 1955 does not allow dual citizenship.

It is a serious offense to retain Indian passport after acquiring citizenship of another country.

The Indian Passport Act 1967 says:

“Holding Indian passport/acquiring Indian passport/travelling on Indian passport after acquisition of foreign citizenship constitutes an offence under the Indian Passport Act, 1967, and attracts penalties.

The Government of India has prescribed imposition of penalty on a graded scale, depending on number of trips made on Indian passport after acquiring foreign nationality, for the violation of Passport Rules and retention of Indian Passport for more than 3 years after acquiring of foreign nationality.”

If you have violated the above provisions, then you will need to surrender you Indian passport and pay appropriate penalty to the Indian High Commission in New Zealand.

The Wellington-based High Commission has no authority to waive off such penalties.

Like any other law, the Indian Citizenship Act as well as Passport Act does not pardon such errors on account of ignorance of law.

If you have acquired New Zealand citizenship, you are required to cancel your Indian passport without delay to avoid higher penalties.

The Indian High Commission website contains a table that shows how much penalty you would be expected to pay.

Besides, if you haven’t surrendered your Indian passport, you will find it difficult to get visa for your dependent children. Indian origin parents with New Zealand citizenship will need to provide evidence of cancellation of Indian passport, for obtaining visa for their minor children.

Once you surrender your Indian passport, you will travel on your New Zealand passport and may need a visa to visit India. To avoid this hassle, many New Zealand citizens of India origin opt for a PIO card.

How is PIO card different from dual citizenship?

Beginning September 2002, India introduced PIO scheme of people of Indian origin living outside India.

The PIO card is like a long-term visa. With PIO card, which stands for Persons of Indian Origin, you don’t have to apply for a visa to visit India.  Valid for 15 years, The PIO card scheme enables a person of Indian origin, up to the 4th Generation down, as also spouses of such persons to apply for and obtain a PIO card.

The PIO card is given to up to 4th generation down. So if your great grandparents were citizens of India, you are still eligible for a PIO card.

Even spouses of PIOs, who may not be of Indian origin, are eligible to obtain a PIO card.

However, India specifically excludes citizens of its neighboring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and China, and those of high-risk countries like Afghanistan and Iran from obtaining a PIO card.

 Benefits of a PIO card

In addition to visa waiver, PIO card offers many other benefits:

  1. All foreign nationals (including foreigners of Indian origin) visiting India for more than 180 days (whether for study, research or employment) need to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) within 14 days of arrival. PIO card holders don’t have to register until 30 days prior to the expiry of the initial 180-day period in India.
  2. PIOs can buy, hold, transfer and dispose of immovable properties in India. This applies to residential as well as commercial properties.
  3. PIO children can study in India’s medical colleges, engineering colleges, IITs, IIMs under the general categories like resident Indians.
  4. There are special counters at the immigration check posts for PIOs.

PIOs however don’t get voting rights, cannot contest elections for any political position in India, neither are they allowed to buy agricultural land.

How much does a PIO card cost?

PIO card fees is NZ$695 for adults, and it is valid for 15 years. If your New Zealand passport expires before the expiry of your PIO card, you can still travel on your existing PIO card which contains old passport number. However, India’s Bureau of Immigration advises to have necessary endorsement of the new passport from the competent authority on their PIO cards “to avoid any inconvenience”.

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status

OCI status is given to those Indians who once were citizens of India (or were eligible to be Indian citizens), and have now surrendered Indian citizenship in favor of a foreign citizenship. OCI is different from PIOs in that PIO card is also issued to spouses and children even if they were never a citizen of India.

Immigration News Work Abroad

These 10 CV mistakes may cost you a dream job in NZ

Your resume is your first step at a prospective employer’s door. Vaibhav Gangan shares common resume mistakes to avoid.

CV writing tips

Top 10 resume writing tips (Photo: The Italian Voice)

In this age of information overload, getting the job you desire is not as straightforward as it used to be, even if you have the required skills and qualifications. Companies are looking for solution-providers, not just highly-skilled individuals.

While writing your resume, please keep in mind these CV tips and avoid these common mistakes.

Mistake 10: Being vague

Is your resume full of flowery words, adjectives and adverbs that say a lot and mean nothing? Be specific. Give examples. Mention figures and statistics. Don’t write “improved sales“, say “grew revenue by 8% by increasing sales from 180,000 units to 248,000 unites in financial year 2014.

Mistake 9: Beating around the bush

While writing opening statement/career objective, don’t be shy to say which position you are applying for and why you are suitable for that position. State the obvious up front. Don’t leave the recruiter wondering why he should hire you. Again, be specific. List the skills and experience that are directly relevant to the position you are applying for.  In fact, don’t bother writing an objective. This usually doesn’t add any value to the recruiter. Use that space to write your summary as mentioned above.

Mistake 8: Grammar errors, sloppy style and spelling mistakes

Check for typographical errors and spelling mistakes. Remove unnecessary exclamation marks and other symbols. Don’t use special characters. Don’t use multiple colors and multiple fonts. Keep it simple in formatting as well as language. Since you have written and re-written your resume many times, you may not spot some errors. Get someone else to proof-read your CV.

Mistake 7: Sloppy style and inappropriate tone

Review your resume as a third person. Is your tone style lazy? Does the passion show through your tone?  Is your resume easy on the eye? Use bullet points. Avoid jargon (yes!). Don’t use acronyms which are specific to your current company. For e.g., “Delivered SIP project while meeting TPA deadlines.”

Mistake 6: Whistler

Don’t list hobbies and interests that are irrelevant to the position applying for. For example, whistling as an interest is not important unless you are applying for a music teacher’s position.

Mistake 5: References

Should you include references or not? Unless you are applying for graduate jobs, or entry-level jobs, references are not needed at the application stage. There is no need to say “references available on request”. Of course, certain employers specifically ask for references with CV, in which case you should provide references that are ready to endorse you. Make sure you have briefed your referees.

Mistake 4: Passive

Some CVs are so passive that recruiter almost stops reading after the first few lines. This happens especially when the candidate is low on self-confidence, or shy to express achievements. Your resume should reflect your achievements, and you can legitimately boast of your work here. List the specific challenges you faced and the results you achieved, and how your work helped your company.

Mistake 3: Personal information

A recruiter is rarely interested in your marital status, date of birth. You can leave out these details.

Mistake 2: Getting adventurous with structure

There’s a widely-accepted structure for CVs and resumes around the world. Stick to it and don’t re-arrange sections randomly. The most popular template of a CV/resume includes, in this order: professional summary, education, experience, skills, awards/achievements, professional accreditation, and interests.

Mistake 1: Generic resume, and resume without cover letter

This is the most common and most suicidal mistake that could cost you your dream job – sending the same CV to all recruiters. Your resume must be tailored to the specific job. I don’t mean window-dressing your CV or adding false information there. Far from it. In fact, you should be honest in your CV. However, you must customize your CV to highlight those skills that are directly relevant to the job you are interested in. Which also means leaving out all those details that are not important for the job.

Do you have any other tips that you would like to share? Please use the comment section below.

Resume writing tips from Seek

  • Keep to the employer’s submission requirements – .doc, pdf, docx, rtf
  • Brief is best – more details about your current or recent jobs, less about the past
  • Clear, straightforward text – make sure everyone can understand it
  • Use one font – formatting matters and easy to read makes you stand out
  • Put contact information at the end – not the start or middle
    Highlight specific skills – relevant to the job you’re applying to
Lifestyle News

Can my dog, cat migrate to NZ from India?

DogFood

 You are not allowed to import a dog or cat directly from India into New Zealand or Australia. Find out a way to get around this restriction.

DogFood

R. Swaminathan received permanent resident visa for New Zealand. As he packed his bags in Bangalore, and prepared to wind down his set up, he began to enquire about formalities to complete for taking his golden retriever to Auckland.

To his shock, he was told that he was not allowed to bring his dog to New Zealand.

India is one of the countries where rabies is not well-controlled, and as such, does not feature in the list of countries approved for exporting dogs or even cats to New Zealand.

The only option available to Swaminathan was to send his dog to one of the approved countries for a 180-day quarantine, before the dog could re-unite with the owner in New Zealand. Even then, his retriever would need to stay in a month-long quarantine in New Zealand.

New Zealand is free from rabies, heart-worm and most ticks, and takes steps to preserve it. New Zealand pet import requirements are therefore strict.

New Zealand has categorized countries for the purpose of importing dogs and cats:

  • Category 1: Australia. Your dog or cat doesn’t need a permit to import, neither does it need post-arrival quarantine. The only check needed is a post-arrival inspection.
  • Category 2: Rabies-free countries, which are: Singapore, Bahrain, Fiji, Mauritius, Hawaii, Japan, Iceland, Barbados, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, and New Caledonia. The dog or cat would need a permit, a post-arrival quarantine of at least 10 days, and a post-arrival check.
  • Category 3: Pacific Island nations. Requirements are same as category 2, which means pets from Pacific Island countries will need to go through a post-arrival inspection and quarantine, and need a permit too.
  • Category 4: Where rabies is absent or well-controlled. This list includes countries like the US, Malaysia, Canada, Hong Kong, France, UK and a host of other countries. The requirements are the same as category 2.
  • Category 5: All other countries.

For those from India or any other country not specified above, a direct import of dog or cat is not permitted.

The only solution is to take your pet to one of the countries listed in any of the above categories, where the pet is quarantined for six months.

After that, the pet-owner would need to obtain a veterinary certificate before importing the pet into New Zealand, where it would be put through a further quarantine for a month.

The pet will need to be micro-chipped before it is vaccinated at the country of origin, because the chips will need to contain a record of vaccination. The importer will also need to give at least 72 hours’ notice to the quarantine department in New Zealand before the arrival of the pet.

Even if you are from one of the listed countries, there are many formalities to be completed before transport, and on arrival. It is advisable to hire a professional animal exporter and transporter.

Can I carry my pet’s bedding?

Yes, bedding is allowed to be imported, as long as it is not made of hay or straw.

How much does it cost to import a dog or cat?

All expenses associated with transport, vaccination, permit, quarantine and other formalities are to be borne by the importer. Besides, there may be bio-security and customs charges to be paid. Import permit application fees is NZ$166.67.

How long does it take to import a dog or cat?

There’s a strict time-table to be followed for vaccination and vet-checks. Please refer to the ministry guide for importing dogs and cats for details.

Which other pets can be imported to New Zealand?

Apart from dogs and cats, the following pets can be imported to New Zealand: chinchillas, fish, horses and rabbits.

Which pets are not permitted to be imported to New Zealand?

If you have any of the following as your pets, you are in tough luck. These pets are not allowed from any country: guinea pigs, birds of any kind, mice and rats, snakes and any reptiles.

Can I take my dog or cat with me in the cabin?

Unfortunately, dogs and cats can not be imported by carrying them with you in the cabin. They must travel as cargo. The only exception being an assistance dog which may travel in the cabin.

If you have any questions about bringing your dog or cat to New Zealand, read these FAQs about importing pets to New Zealand.

For any queries, contact the ministry of primary industries of the New Zealand government.