After The Indian Weekender's sustained reporting on the decline of a partnership visa application by Immigration NZ even after the Minister's "new" guidelines has now been re-opened for assessment.

The news of the decline of partnership visa application of Shipra Maheshwari, who is married to New Zealand citizen Vaibhav Somani, and her partnership visa application was declined on Friday, November 15, despite Immigration Minister's public announcement on Wednesday, November 13 of new guidelines, has caused much furore in the community.

It appeared and reflected much concern in the community if the new instructions were being abided by the frontline case officers or not.

Finally, after The Indian Weekender's story on Tuesday, November 19, Auckland based Vaibhav Soani had received notification followed by phone calls informing the couple about the decision of re-opening of their previous, and most likely prematurely declined visa-application.

Speaking to The Indian Weekender's a visibly delighted Vaibhav said, "Yes it is certainly great news as I have been really going through some tough times in explaining my wife about the causes of our forced-separation."

"However, they have asked for some additional information that I am now arranging," Vaibhav said cautiously.

The issue of en-masse partnership visa declines for want of "living together" has recently jolted the Kiwi-Indian community, as the fate of thousands of Kiwi residents and citizens who had either married or planned to marry soon overseas, within their cultures were put on stake.

The issue had largely emanated after INZ's internal directive in May 2019 to their frontline officers for exercising discretion unfavourably in their assessment of partnership visa applications. 

Following community uproar and sustained media pressure, the Immigration Minister had intervened to fix the situation and assured the community of fairer treatment of their partnership visa applications.

The Minister had announced that INZ could potentially re-open about 1200 applications previously declined who would qualify under the new guidance, and there would be another 1300 applications previously declined.

Following that announcement, the INZ website was updated that they are stopping assessment of all partnership visa applications to follow the "new" Ministerial guidance.

However, Shipra's visa was still declined on November 15, causing concerns if the Minister's instructions were being abided by the frontline immigration officers.

The Indian Weekender had reported the story highlighting the anomaly in Minister's public announcement and INZ's delivery on the ground – a concern deeply shared by several immigration lawyers who deal with the system on a daily basis.

"There is not much change. And the devil is in detail," a prominent immigration lawyer has confidentially confided with this journalist on the condition of anonymity about the gap between announcement at Ministerial level and how it brings positive difference at the bureaucratic level.

Regardless of this enlightened-suspicion towards a powerful bureaucracy that has a tendency to go wayward if left unchecked, inbuilt in that immigration lawyer's comment, it is important to acknowledge the opening of this particular previously declined partnership visa application.

It certainly augurs well for the Kiwi-Indian community, which has recently sustained too much dirt of negativity, suspicion, and negativity including racist tirade from a Cabinet Minister.

Meanwhile, the Indian Weekender has seen the communication requesting for additional information in Shipra and Vaibha's case; however, it will be too early to make any conclusion if this is a part of 1200 applications being re-opened as assured by Minister.

It is also not clear yet if the re-assessment process is based on new immigration guidelines – it is to say if the application will be assessed for a partnership visa or newly announced culturally arranged marriage visa.

These are the questions that thousands of applicants hoping to get a re-assessment call from INZ are dealing with on a daily basis.

The Indian Weekender will continue to report as and when it gets to know more on this evolving situation

After the Indian Weekender's sustained reporting on the decline of a partnership visa application by Immigration NZ even after the Minister's "new" guidelines has now been re-opened for assessment.

The news of the decline of partnership visa application of Shipra Maheshwari, who is married to New Zealand citizen Vaibhav Somani, and her partnership visa application was declined on Friday, November 15, despite Immigration Minister's public announcement on Wednesday, November 13 of new guidelines, has caused much furore in the community.

It appeared and reflected much concern in the community if the new instructions were being abided by the frontline case officers or not.

Finally, after the Indian Weekender's story on Tuesday, November 19, Auckland based Vaibhav Soani had received notification followed by phone calls informing the couple about the decision of re-opening of their previous, and most likely prematurely declined visa-application.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender a visibly delighted Vaibhav said, "Yes it is certainly great news as I have been really going through some tough times in explaining my wife about the causes of our forced-separation."

"However, they have asked for some additional information that I am now arranging," Vaibhav said cautiously.

The issue of en-masse partnership visa declines for want of "living together" has recently jolted the Kiwi-Indian community, as the fate of thousands of Kiwi residents and citizens who had either married or planned to marry soon overseas, within their cultures were put on stake.

The issue had largely emanated after INZ's internal directive in May 2019 to their frontline officers for exercising discretion unfavourably in their assessment of partnership visa applications. 

Following community uproar and sustained media pressure, the Immigration Minister had intervened to fix the situation and assured the community of fairer treatment of their partnership visa applications.

The Minister had announced that INZ could potentially re-open about 1200 applications previously declined who would qualify under the new guidance, and there would be another 1300 applications previously declined.

Following that announcement, the INZ website was updated that they are stopping assessment of all partnership visa applications to follow the "new" Ministerial guidance.

However, Shipra's visa was still declined on November 15, causing concerns if the Minister's instructions were being abided by the frontline immigration officers.

The Indian Weekender had reported the story highlighting the anomaly in Minister's public announcement and INZ's delivery on the ground – a concern deeply shared by several immigration lawyers who deal with the system on a daily basis.

"There is not much change. And the devil is in detail," a prominent immigration lawyer has confidentially confided with this journalist on the condition of anonymity about the gap between announcement at Ministerial level and how it brings positive difference at the bureaucratic level.

Regardless of this enlightened-suspicion towards a powerful bureaucracy that has a tendency to go wayward if unchecked, inbuilt in that immigration lawyer's comment, it is important to acknowledge the opening of this particular previously declined partnership visa application.

It certainly augurs well for the Kiwi-Indian community, which has recently sustained too much dirt of negativity, suspicion, and negativity including racist tirade from a Cabinet Minister.

Meanwhile, the Indian Weekender has seen the communication requesting for additional information in Shipra and Vaibha's case; however, it will be too early to make any conclusion if this is a part of 1200 applications being re-opened as assured by Minister.

It is also not clear yet if the re-assessment process is based on new immigration guidelines – it is to say if the application will be assessed for a partnership visa or newly announced culturally arranged marriage visa.

These are the questions that thousands of applicants hoping to get a re-assessment call from INZ are dealing with on a daily basis.

The Indian Weekender will continue to report as and when it gets to know more on this evolving situation.

Expressing satisfaction on the re-opening of his wife’s visa application Vaibhav said, “I am thankful to the Indian Weekender for raising voice about my case resulting in its re-opening for reassessment.

“I am also thankful to the Immigration New Zealand for acting pragmatically and re-opening my wife’s application,” Vaibhav said.