The temporary workers in New Zealand will also be allowed to bring their legitimate partners after the “new” Ministerial directive to Immigration New Zealand.

This was made clear in response to The Indian Weekender's specific enquiry to the INZ after some confusion, even after the recently released internal administrative circular on Tuesday, November 19.

“Yes, it applies to the partners of NZ based people on temp or residence visas,” INZ’s Assistant General Manager, Peter Elms told The Indian Weekender.

Mr Elms was responding to our concerns if the recently announced changes in culturally arranged marriage visas will only consider residents and citizens, leaving temporary workers in the country in lurch.

Sreevathsan Ravindra, an Engineering Graduate, IT specialist with ten years of work experience in multiple countries and global IT companies first arrived in the country on May 31, 2019, on a 30-month work visa.

His wife Sreemathi, also an Engineering graduate and IT specialist, applied for a partnership visa, from Dubai, where both couples were earlier working and living with their two daughters in June 2019.

However, after six months of treacherous wait and clouds of uncertainty, Sreevathsan was informed by Immigration New Zealand that they were putting a hold on his wife’s partnership visa application in order to ensure that Ministerial guidelines are met – a concern shared with The Indian Weekender'.

“I am an IT professional with more than ten years of demonstrable work experience in multiple countries.”

“My wife and I are tech professionals who have worked in different countries across global tech giants.”

“Till now, we have never faced any difficulties in moving together along with our two daughters.”

“However, this is the first time that we have experienced a forced-separation of more than six months by uncertainty in immigration rules.”

“I have even started considering the option of going back if I am not allowed to bring my wife, with whom I have been living together in Dubai before coming to New Zealand,” Sreevathsan told The Indian Weekender.

The story of Sreevathsan resonates with thousands of other temporary workers in the country who are in the country for short-term on important work assignments. They are either working their way up to settle in the country permanently or have a short term interest in living and working in this country.

An Immigration New Zealand’s U-turn in May 2019 where they arbitrarily decided to direct their frontline staff to exercise discretion in a manner that disadvantaged people of Indian origin and other South Asian cultures to get legitimate visas.

While Sreevathsan and Sreemathi’s case is not a classic example who had not been “living together” prior to coming to New Zealand, (as they were), yet a delay, and then subsequent holding of their application by INZ, clearly points towards the level of mess within the department’s internal-thinking on assessment of partnership visa applications. 

Following this latest internal administrative circular directing frontline staff, that will override the last directive of May 10, 2019, and verbal confirmation by INZ’s senior officers to The Indian Weekender it seems that things will change soon, and people on work and student visas will be allowed to bring their partners on legitimate visas.

Obviously, they still need to get through all necessary risk assessments and convince immigration officers that they are in genuine and credible relationships.

The Indian Weekender is bringing out a detailed analysis that will clear all the clutter on culturally arranged marriage and partnership visa issues.