An unfazed Auckland woman is committed to not give up on her long-distance relationship with an Indian man from the state of Punjab after Immigration New Zealand rejected his visitor visa.
The story of 40-year-old Kiwi native Lolini Tongi Vaka and 24-year-old Simran Singh of Punjab has all the elements thrill and pain that any long-distance relationship starting on social media is expected to endure, including the roadblocks raised by the Immigration department.
Recently, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has rejected Simran’s visa application to come to New Zealand for the first time to get married to Lolini in a culturally appropriate manner.
Lately, INZ has come under increasing public criticism for the extraordinary delays in the processing of partnership-based visitors visas causing disquiet among a large section of the community.
In this case, the visa request was for a culturally arranged marriage, and INZ has declined the application because their relationship status did not fall under the category of culturally arranged marriage.
Lolini was visiting Simran in India on June 2019 when Simran’s Immigration Adviser called him to inform that INZ has declined his visa application.
It was her second visit to India to meet Simran, the first being in July 2018 itself, just a few months after they first started chatting on facebook, Lolini told The Indian Weekender.
“I was in India when his Licensed Immigration Adviser Jagjeet Singh of Immigration Matters NZ called him informing about the outcome of visa application,” Lolini said.
“Why would INZ do that was my first question to Simran,” asked a frustrated Lolini, who has never before had the experience of negotiating with Immigration authorities.
However, refusing to let a faceless system decide the fate of her budding love and relationship Lolini married with Simran in the presence of all his family members in a local Sikh Temple.
“It was a great ceremony and a great experience of marrying in Indian tradition in the presence of his family members,” Lolini said.
On being probed further on how was the reaction of Simran’s family members about the prospects of him getting married with a woman from an alien culture and country, Lolini said, “In fact it was his mum and uncle [mum’s brother] who approached me to ask if we were in a relationship when I was visiting them for the second time.”
“Everyone present in the marriage ceremony there was happy for us being together and had a great time,” Lolini recalled about the time he got married in India.
Recalling more on how their relationship started at the first place, Lolini said “I first came across him on a Facebook page of Indians in New Zealand sometime in March 2018.
“It all started with a pretty simple conversation I struck upon with Simran on that page that kicked off things between us.”
“Soon we found ourselves chatting on the facebook messenger, with most of the conversations getting longer in the next few months,” Lolini said.
Lolini works full time for a local security agency in Auckland and is helping Simran file another visa application.
Simran lives and works in Punjab with a local pharmacy retailer.
She is hopeful of continuing this long-distance relationship and said, “I want to give every possible chance to this relationship.”