Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Too qualified to live in NZ

Indian national with master's degree in computing denied residence as skilled migrant.

Kiran Kumar Kalamraju was 'absolutely gutted'.
Kiran Kumar Kalamraju was 'absolutely gutted'.

An Indian national with a master's degree was declined an opportunity to apply for residence as a skilled migrant, despite being more qualified than was required.

Kiran Kumar Kalamraju, 38, had lodged an expression of interest for permanent residence under the occupation of computer network and systems engineer, which is on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skills shortage list.

But he lost points towards his application because his bachelor's degree in commerce was not related to computing. However, he holds a first-class master's degree in computer applications.

Immigration New Zealand also said he had "work experience in a labour market that is not comparable to New Zealand", but the professional body for New Zealand migration advisers argues that India is more advanced in IT.

Mr Kalamraju said he was "absolutely gutted" by the Immigration decision and that he had no right of appeal.

"New Zealand is a beautiful country and I believe I could contribute positively to Kiwi society by working in an area where there is an identified skills shortage."

The decision has been called illogical by the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment.

"To decline an application on the grounds of being overqualified for the NZ market is not logical, this country needs skilled people in order for NZ to compete in the world market for information technology," chairwoman June Ranson said.

Ms Ranson said Immigration's list of countries deemed to have comparable labour markets with New Zealand's was "seriously out of date".

"To further state the applicant is from a labour market not comparable to NZ is correct, India is in fact far more advanced in IT than NZ," she said.

Immigration New Zealand area manager Michael Carley said the failure to meet specifications meant Mr Kalamraju did not get the 100 points required to enter a pool for selection.

Mr Kalamraju attended Bharathidasan University, in southern India.

"Mr Kalamraju claimed a total of 140 points, this total included bonus points for qualifications that do not meet the specifications ... as well as points for work experience in a labour market that is not comparable to New Zealand," Mr Carley said.

"After our assessment, Mr Kalamraju was awarded a total of 85 points and was declined on the basis that it did not meet any of the applicable selection criteria."

Immigration adviser Tuariki Delamere, who is representing Mr Kalamraju, said he was considering writing to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

"The INZ manager is saying that you are not allowed to be more qualified than the stated qualification of a level 7 bachelor's degree," Mr Delamere said.

"Her decision is absolute mindless nonsense ..."

Skilled migrant category
*Applicants need to submit an expression of interest containing details of character, qualifications, work experience and relevant skills.
*Those with a score of 100 points or more go into a pool for selection.
*Those with 140 or more points are automatically selected and invited to apply for residence.
*Having a job offer will help.
*Data is not compiled on reasons why applications are rejected.
Source: Immigration New Zealand

- NZ Herald

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