A New Zealand citizen who has been separated from his wife for more than two years wants Immigration New Zealand to make exceptions for partners to come to the country on a visitor visa.
Rahul Verma has worked in Auckland as a Senior IT Business Analyst since 2007. He married his wife in India in a culturally arranged marriage 26 months ago, but they remain separated.
Verma said he was not asking the INZ to open the general visa category “to everyone,” but believed it should be open to partners of New Zealand citizens and residents.
“It’s not just my story. This is the story of the thousands of immigrants who have contributed to New Zealand’s economy for many years. When needed, the current government has failed terribly to connect with and support people (immigrants). “
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Although they talk to each other every day, Verma says his wife is battling depression and “losing hope” as there is no indication when the New Zealand border will reopen.
Verma married Indian citizen Suman Kumari, before the culturally arranged marriage visa became available.
She chose not to come to New Zealand right away, because in Indian culture it is important for the bride to bond with her husband’s family.
The family then began to prepare her to come to New Zealand, but realized that her passport was about to expire. It took two months to renew it and Verma applied for her visitor visa immediately after.
It was approved and she was due to arrive in New Zealand on April 17 of last year, but the Covid-19 border closure brought her to a halt.
Her three-month visitor visa then expired, so Verma applied for a partnership visa, which was refused.
“I have been informed that they cannot approve a visa in the partnership category because we do not live together. I had no problem with it.
“I asked if she could have the visitor visa in the general category. I have been informed that INZ cannot authorize a visitor visa as this category is closed. So, anyway, there is no help ”.
Verma traveled to India in October 2019 to see Kumari for three weeks, but was unable to extend her stay due to work commitments.
“It was my dedication to our relationship. However, for INZ, this is not enough, ”he said.
Verma said the couple spoke to each other on the phone every day and provided INZ with phone records, marriage certificates and other evidence to show their relationship was genuine, but it still wasn’t enough.
“INZ should allow my wife to enter New Zealand, and then we’ll have our whole life to prove our relationship.”
Verma said if he wanted to bring Kumari to New Zealand then he had to live with her for four to five months.
“Recently, I saw that even people who have lived together for three or four months have their visas refused.”
In September 2020, the Minister of Immigration announced that partners of New Zealand citizens and residents are exempt from border restrictions if they hold a relationship-based visa, travel with their New Zealand citizen or a member of their family resides, or ordinarily resides in New Zealand. Zealand.
The INZ said the requirements for a partnership visa required applicants to meet the conditions for cohabitation as “outlined in the immigration instructions.”
“After the activation of border restrictions on March 19, 2020, Suman was unable to travel to New Zealand on a visitor visa.”
The INZ said the couple had to “demonstrate that they meet the relevant criteria, including that they live together”.
“The government is constantly reviewing the border parameters, which have been put in place to protect New Zealanders from Covid-19.”