External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday urged his New Zealand counterpart to hasten up the visa process for Indian students waiting come to this country for their studies and also sought a “fairer and more sympathetic treatment” towards those who have been impacted by the pandemic.
Jaishankar, who is here on his first visit to New Zealand as External Affairs Minister, held “warm and productive” talks with his New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta. India is the second largest source of international students in New Zealand pursuing higher education in various disciplines such as information technology, hospitality, science, engineering and architecture.
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“I also raised with the minister the concerns that some of our students have faced, students who had to leave New Zealand during the Covid period and who didn’t have the opportunity to get their visas renewed,” Jaishankar said. “I urged a fairer and more sympathetic treatment for them, also students who are waiting to come to New Zealand to pursue their studies and whether the visa process for them could be hastened,” he said during a joint press interaction with his New Zealand counterpart. The two ministers also touched upon the issue of skills demand in each society.
“There are perhaps demands in New Zealand which could be met out of India, and we have a mobility understanding with many countries, so the possibility of those could serve as guidance for progress between us,” Jaishankar said. “So, all in all, I would say it has been, Minister, a very good day of discussions and exchange of views and I’m really very pleased today to find some way of contributing to the strengthening of our ties,” Jaishankar said. He also invited his counterpart Mahuta to visit India. “We would be very honoured if we have the privilege of receiving you, Minister, in India, I hope not in the very distant future,” he said.
Jaishankar also met Associate Minister for foreign affairs Aupito William Sio during his meeting with Mahuta. “Pleasure to meet Associate Minister for foreign affairs @AupitoWSio_MP during my talks with FM @NanaiaMahuta,” Jaishankar tweeted. During the visit, Jaishankar will join Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday to felicitate members of the Indian community. for their exceptional achievements and contributions. “I think this evening, I have the opportunity to spend time with the Indian community which has done so much to be a living bridge between us,” Jaishankar said during the joint press interaction.
“I hope, I will have the opportunity of meeting the Prime Minister on that occasion as well and spending a little time in New Zealand, including, in inaugurating our new Embassy premises in Wellington,” he said. New Zealand has approximately 2,50,000 persons of Indian origin and NRIs, a vast majority of which have made the country their permanent home.