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May 1, 2017 | by  | in PGSA | [ssba]

Postgrad Informer

My application for New Zealand residency was approved on August 28, 2015 — back when a Trump presidency and a British withdrawal from the EU were still punchlines, and vehement anti-immigrant rhetoric belonged to fringe extremists rather than to major political parties. On August 28, 2017, I will be eligible for permanent residency, in a world that has become much more hostile towards those who dares leave their country of birth in pursuit of better opportunities.

For the first New Zealand election I’ll be able to participate in, I feel like my only option is to choose a party that doesn’t want me here, after Labour and the Green Party both announced policies to curb immigration. It seems that the only way to appreciate the contributions that immigrants make is to learn the hard way, retroactively recognising the importance of welcoming immigrants and refugees after we’ve made it impossible for them to live here.

Victoria’s postgraduate population is made up of a very large proportion of international students, many of whom have migrated here with their families to further their studies. International students face a very different set of challenges than domestic students, especially in the face of a global move towards anti-migrant policies. If VUW truly intends to honour its commitment to an “international outlook,” we need to defend the value of the research contributions and the presence of international students, and not solely as a source of cash flow but as a vital addition to the student population.

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