Appeal to reconsider Partnership Visa requirement
Wellington, October 29, 2019
Standfirst: The Indian community is worried that the new Partnership Visa requirement will seriously impede the married life of young people since they fear that the ‘living together requirement’ is antithetical of Indian culture and values. National Party MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has sent the following letter to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.
Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
Minister of Immigration
Re: Immigration Policy Interpretation
Over the past few months I have travelled across New Zealand and there are common themes that have emerged in my discussions with the community.
There have been strong concerns, particularly in New Zealand’s South East Asian community, about partnership visas based on culturally arranged marriages.
As you may be aware, culturally arranged marriages are a norm in countries around the Indian sub-continent.
Migrants from India first came to New Zealand in 1890.
The migrants were usually male who would later bring their wives out to New Zealand.
Currently, Immigration New Zealand offices are declining visas applications from the Indian subcontinent because there is no evidence of a couple living together.
Culturally, it is unacceptable for a couple to live together before marriage and, after marriage, a spouse who is a New Zealand citizen or resident can only stay back for the duration of their leave sanctioned by their employer.
‘Living together’ requirement
This makes the ‘living together’ requirement incredibly difficult to meet. Such a strict interpretation and implementation of immigration policy is significantly disadvantaging people in these marriages. Those upset at this application of policy are being told that they are more than welcome to leave New Zealand to attempt to live with their partners overseas.
Many of the sponsors of applicants I have met are well qualified and highly skilled people such as IT solution architects, IT managers, Chartered Accountants and more, whose services and experience are desperately needed in New Zealand. Many of them pay more tax than those on New Zealand’s median salary.
Shortage of skills
It is little surprise that many have now started to contemplate moving from New Zealand as their skills are in high demand globally. Should this occur, I fear we will see current shortages in the workforce across New Zealand only continue to get worse which will be detrimental to the New Zealand economy. Where people don’t meet the ‘living together’ requirement, then other options should be provided to meet this requirement here in New Zealand.
I strongly urge you to consider how Immigration New Zealand’s new application of Government policy will affect New Zealand’s citizens and our economy. I hope you will take time to reflect on my letter towards considering critical and imminent changes.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi