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Kiwi-Indian Leaving NZ Over Visa Frustration

Photo: 123RF | RNZ

An Indian woman living in New Zealand for eight years says she has decided to leave the country as “it seems more like a prison now”.

Prerna Joshi (name changed) says she was looking forward to hosting her father in Auckland, the first time in her eight years in the country that someone from her family was planning to visit her. 

Her father was granted a tourist visa, but there was a catch.

“My father can’t travel alone so I requested my cousin brother to accompany him.”

Her cousin, a widower, applied for a 10-day tourist visa, but it was rejected citing a lack of strong ties to his home country, a reason cited when immigration is not sure the applicant intends to return.

“Just because he lost his partner you assume he won’t go back? My brother has been living with his parents for years and has a good job in India. 

“We had planned to travel to South Island and even made all the flight and hotel bookings. He had provided all the proof. It’s all the more frustrating since we have no way to contest the decision,” says Joshi.

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Her brother reapplied and this time, Joshi says, he submitted at least 50 documents, including photos of family IDs, birth certificates, salary slips, flight and hotel bookings, income tax returns, proof of savings, bank statements etc. The application was rejected again, this time for lack of sufficient evidence. 

“Now my father can’t visit. It’s so insensitive. We’ve been through such a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was really looking forward to spending some quality time with my father and giving him a glimpse of life that I live here.”

Joshi told The Indian Weekender she hopes to move to Delhi and has started applying for jobs. “I also have a house here in Auckland. I have already told my brokers to put it for sale.”

Subsequently, Joshi sent a message to Immigration New Zealand’s complaints department, stating that the decision for the visa application was biased and she did not receive appropriate feedback/explanation for the visa decline.

An Immigration Official at Visitor Visa Operations in Christchurch responded to Joshi via email.

“All the documents provided with the application were carefully reviewed and considered when making a decision for the application,” says the Official. “Information contained in the documents submitted were not deemed satisfactory to mitigate our concerns in relation to your financial ties and financial incentive to return back to India.”

After this response, Joshi has confirmed she is ready to leave, and her eyes are set on India, where she plans to secure a job before packing her bags completely.

 “This is really disappointing and makes me so angry,” says Joshi. “I knew they wouldn't be of any help.”

Joshi is now waiting for her sister’s visa to be approved so she can help Joshi move back to India.

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