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Desperate international students are turning to crime and prostitution in New Zealand

Sahaayta Counsellor Sucharita Varma and Sergeant Gurpreet Arora Source: Radio New Zealand

Some international students are turning to crime because they cannot find work, a police ethnic liaison officer has said.

Deportation is not the only problem being faced by Indian international students in New Zealand. Some international students are turning to crime because they cannot find work to support them and repay the loans they have taken to pursue education in New Zealand, Radio New Zealand reports.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand’s Voices, Sergeant Gurpreet Arora from Counties Manukau said some students who have come to New Zealand to pursue international education have borrowed heavily and this often puts them in a vulnerable situation.

Most international students aim to find jobs to repay those loans but, if that didn't happen, some turned to other means, he said.

“The journey starts from India when they apply for their students visas. Many of the families take loans back home. It is expected from those students that once they come here they will repay their loans. So once they come here, if they are not able to find a job and they’re desperate, they resort to other means; committing crime, prostitution.”

In worst case scenarios there have also been unwanted pregnancies, homicides or suicides.

These international students need community’s support, said Mr Arora.

Sucharita Varma, who works as a counsellor with Sahaayta Counselling and Social Support, said education providers too need to step up and take responsibility to cater to these international students.

Sucharita told RNZ, “You’ve got the four [problem] corners with the students in the middle; the agents, the Education providers, the policies not conducive to students and the exploitative employees. We have to get together to have a dialogue around how to empower these students to make sure they don’t go down the path that they are.”

Over 150 students face deportation in New Zealand. On Saturday, several of these International students gathered to protest against the decision to deport them from New Zealand.