Disappointed in the manner in which politicians had issued racist comment openly in the recent weeks about prospects of partnership visa, a Kiwi-Indian worker has returned back to India after his wife's visa was rejected.
Mandeep Singh, a New Zealand resident, living in the country for the last eight years had packed his bag and returned home, especially after New Zealand First Party MP Shane Jones had outrageously commented on Indian marriages.
Mandeep got married to his wife earlier this year in India and had filed for a partnership visa.
Following a six weeks long holiday for the wedding, Mandeep applied for his wife’s visitor visa in April, which was declined in October, barely one week after an immigration office was allocated to his application.
A story oft-repeated – summary rejection within a span of a few days – after a case officer is appointed.
Speaking with The Indian Weekender from his home in India, Mandeep Singh shared his ordeal- the stress of visa delays, followed by a decline, the sense of not being given a fair-go for wife’s visa process, ensuing uncertainty and the anxiety.
However, it was after the outrageous comment by Government Minister Shane Jones and the abject failure of everyone else in the government including the Prime Minister to call out the Minister that Mandeep lost hope and decided to leave NZ – a place where he has worked hard for the last eight years to call it as his home.
“I have been unsure for quite some time about what were future chances of me getting together with my wife in this country,” Mandeep said.
“But it was after the recent racist political statements that I became hopeless and thought to pack my bag and leave the country to be along with my wife,” an exasperated Mandeep said.
“My wife’s visitor visa application was opened in the first week of October, and one week later another email said that Immigration is not satisfied if I am in a genuine and stable relationship with my wife and I am not living together, so my application has been declined,” Mandeep Singh said.
“Adding insult to the injury was that I am not allowed to appeal the decision, and I will have to reapply, and god knows how much time that would take,” added Mandeep.
Narrating his mental status then, Mandeep says he lost all hope seeing such comments from the minister in the news.
“It was as if the government was saying that they will not let our [Indians] partners come to New Zealand,” Mandeep added.
Mandeep told that he had not broken the news of visa rejection to anyone in the family until he travelled back home as he feared it would stir up emotions, especially for his wife who had been waiting patiently for seven months with a sense of hope to join him in New Zealand.
Mandeep says that the frustration of the all this [visa decline and Shane Jones’ comments] started affecting his mental peace, he couldn’t concentrate at work, remained upset for the most of the day, and lost sleep.
Seeing his constant upset mood and distraction at work, his employee offered him a few days leave to rest. Coming to the terms of this separation and no light at the end of the tunnel, Mandeep decided to leave his job if it’s that what it takes so that he can stay with her.
“I told my employer that I want to leave my job so that I can stay with my wife- at least for some time in India before making any other decision,” Mandeep added.
When asked about the recent announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of reverting back the visa situation back to normal, Mandeep was unsure of what it actually meant to his situation.
“I still don’t know what to do next although I read in the news that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has asked to reverse the policy that is affecting marriages.
“Should I apply again, will Immigration be reversing the decision, or open the previous application and assess again- it’s still not clear,” Mandeep added.
“I have worked very hard to be where I was in my job, and now I have put the same career on the line, took a big gamble, and I don’t know what to do. It’s frustrating and frankly speaking, disheartening and disappointing about Immigration, its policies and the government,” Mandeep concluded.