Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has told the Indian Weekender that Immigration New Zealand is likely to resume processing of partnership visa applications from Wednesday, September 16, bringing much relief to thousands of separated families.

Minister Faafoi was speaking with the Indian Weekender in an exclusive zoom-based interview on Monday, September 14 on range of immigration issues affecting the Kiwi-Indian and the broader ethnic migrant communities.

When asked why the partners of New Zealand citizens and residents from non visa waiver countries were excluded from the last week’s special announcement allowing partners from visa waiver countries into the country, Mr Faafoi said, “I have some good news as I can confirm that Immigration New Zealand will start processing partnership visa applications from non visa waiver countries from this week.”

Expectedly, this news will bring much relief for thousands of citizens and residents who are experiencing forced separation because of closed borders.

Mr Faafoi told the Indian Weekender that his ministry was working proactively to consider getting people back into the country on the compassionate and humanitarian grounds which includes partnership visas.

However, he also insisted that given the borders were closed and which was the government’s topmost priority as the part of keeping Covid-19 away from the communities all decisions have to made on the basis of total spaces available in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities.

On being asked that what causes much anxiety and frustration amongst people stranded overseas for no fault of their own was the seemingly “available spaces” in MIQ facilities as visible on MBIE website which sometime varied up to 2000 spaces out of total 7000 spaces, Mr Faafoi emphasised that it was a complex process of coordination between multiple agencies.

“It is a very good question, but I must say that it is a complex process of coordination and we have to ensure that there are spaces available for any returning NZ citizen and residents anytime they choose to return. Anyway, those spaces can be taken up very soon,” Mr Faafoi said.

He was further asked about a range of issues affecting temporary visa holders currently locked out of New Zealand borders including the situation of partnership visa holders of NZ citizens and residents who were granted such visas before border closure and since then their visas have expired to which the Minister responded that his Ministry was still working and make announcement when ready.

To view the detailed interview please visit Indian Weekender's Facebook page.