Auckland, November 15, 2019
The Labour Party and the Government values the contributions of the Indian community, there will no discrimination under its governance and Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has been instructed to revert to the erstwhile practice of fair assessment of partnership visas.
That was the message conveyed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during her meeting with community leaders at her electorate office in Mount Albert this afternoon.
It is understood issues relating to immigration including the “recent changes to partnership visa,’ delays in processing work permits and visitor visas were raised at the meeting.
Later, speaking to the Indian media, Ms Ardern admitted that the new procedures adopted by INZ had caused agony and anger among the members of the Indian community.
She said that INZ had taken the decision of its own bat and that instructions have been issued to revert to the erstwhile visa screening process.
“It was their arbitrary decision and we as the government have restored the status quo. All applications for Partnership Visas will be processed as before,” she said.
Muddling caused anxiety
A part of the problem is muddling by some people and making it an India-specific issue.
Challenge of proof
Waitakere Ethnic Board and New Zealand Newcomers Network Managing Coordinator Baljit Kaur said that the Partnership Visa category is a challenge for all communities since every applicant must prove that he or she is in a sustained relationship and must comply with various requirements and documentation.
“I have read elsewhere that Indians from India getting married find it difficult to comply with the need to ‘live together’ before applying for a Partnership Visa. I have come across people from Britain and other European countries in similar situations. The Government has clarified that all applications for Partnership Visas will be considered on their merits without prejudice or discrimination,” she said.
Mrs Kaur was among the community leaders present at the meeting with the Prime Minister.
“It was a privilege to be a part of a group of people who met with Ms Ardern, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Chief Government Whip Michael Wood to discuss openly our views on Immigration, Culturally Arranged Marriages and Visiting Visas for parents. We are all very different in our thinking but we appreciate that the Prime Minister made the time to listen and asked us our views,” she later said in her Facebook post.
Ms Ardern said that all Partnership Visas declined since May 2019 will be reconsidered by INZ and that they would be contacted individually shortly.