Thursday, 27 December 2018

Unable to See the Wood for the Trees

Monty Python's Flying Circus in Full Swing

An "immigration case" recently hit the headlines in New Zealand.  It is the kind of case that makes people's blood boil.  It reflects the potential of bureaucratic madness breaking out at any time.  

The case is as follows:
Nilani Suhinthan couldn't conjure the words to explain to her daughter Bumikka why she wasn't granted a visa to live in New Zealand, but the rest of her family were.  "Bumikka has Down syndrome, she doesn't understand. I couldn't explain to her. She's just been asking 'where my mummy is?'" Nilani says.  "My younger girl broke into tears, she was very disappointed."

The Irish mother of three has been living and working in Auckland since September 6, after being recruited as a IT consultant for a multinational US tech company.  The plan was to relocate her entire family here from Dublin, including her husband, Nagarajah, her eldest daughter Tanya, 19, her youngest daughter Saumia, 14, and Bumikka, 15.  Up until November 2 that plan was on track, after Nilani's husband - a computer engineer with decades of experience - was granted a New Zealand work visa, and her youngest daughter a student visa.  Her eldest daughter Tanya intended to continue studying medicine in Bulgaria, but eventually settle in New Zealand. 
Then the news arrived on November 7 that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) had declined Bumikka's student visa because she did not have an "acceptable standard of health".  INZ's medical waiver assessment for Bumikka's stated because she had Down syndrome she was "likely to impose significant costs on New Zealand's special education services".  Specifically, the issue was that Bumikka would require the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) special-ed service to undertake schooling in New Zealand.  [NZ Herald]
 Here is a family that will likely generate far more income taxation dollars for the State than the average New Zealand family.
  Nilani Suhinthan explains what they as a family have a great deal to offer New Zealand.  But the present bureaucratic imbroglio has made her more cautious.
"Originally I wanted to come here, settle in, and I have a lot to offer, and my husband works as a big data developer, it's a rare skill. My eldest daughter is studying to be a doctor, so she would contribute something to the community as well.

"I want to let people know that a Down syndrome child can be discriminated on the ground of their disability.  "So I'm really disappointed, and any mum who wants to move to New Zealand has to rethink before they start the move. Otherwise they will end up like myself, in a real mess."
They have appealed their case to the Associate Immigration Minister, Kris Faafoi.  He will not make a decision until early in March.

The power of a minister to override the blatantly foolish decisions of a government department is an extremely important aspect of sane administration.  Exceptions need to be made to stop manifestly foolish, shortsighted, and inappropriate rulings being made--as in this instance.  In such cases the law of common sense should most definitely apply.

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