Death threats and abuse as visa delay frustrations grow

Death threats and abuse as visa delay frustrations grow

Gill Bonnett

Wellington, June 20, 2019

Munish Sekhri (Photo Supplied)

They say although the financial costs are immense, the damage to New Zealand’s reputation as a destination could be devastating.

The Vice-President of the national industry body, Licensed Immigration Advisers for New Zealand in India (LIANZ, Munish Sekhri has said that they are doing their best to represent clients, but complaints are directed at them because of frustration at Immigration New Zealand (INZ) delays and lack of communication.

Alternatives to New Zealand

He said that some advisers (LIANZ) have started taking on more business from countries with smoother visa processes because of the misery, business risk and lack of support from Immigration New Zealand in India.

Students, partners of New Zealand residents and citizens and young children had been in the managed queue since November, with “no hope on the horizon that such applications will be decided any time soon.”

“INZ has failed to respond to status check emails sent to them by the LIAs on behalf of the paying clients. INZ has no client-facing arrangements, hence, LIAs are the ones who are being harassed by the clients and their families, due to the apathy of INZ,” he said.

Massive Transition

Mr Sekhri said that whilst he and others understand that INZ is going through a massive transition, there is no proper channel of communication available to the LIAs to advocate on behalf of the clients.

“I can count at least three applications in which the families are on the verge of a breakdown.”

Staff in Mumbai had also requested education agents and immigration advisers not to send any status checks or reminder emails because it needs to concentrate on the visa backlog.

Advisers fee and training

The licensed advisers pay fees in New Zealand and undergo training and continuous professional development to continue to practice in India, he said.

It is questionable whether Education New Zealand and the immigration system will ever recover from the current crisis, he added.

“Many LIAs and staff have received abusive calls and even death threats if the LIAs do not get/provide clarity of the processing times. This has created another wave of insecurity and identity crisis for the LIAs, who, despite doing their best to represent the clients, are at the receiving end of threats, abuse, complaints, possible litigation and loss of revenue and reputation,” he said.

‘I’m just missing the beauty of my child’s childhood’

Another woeful tale

Jyothish Pillai with his wife and two year-old daughter Vaiga (Photo Supplied)

Jyothish Pillai is working as a data engineer on a talent accredited work visa and applied for his wife and two-year-old daughter’s applications soon after arriving in New Zealand in December.

He wanted to arrange accommodation before they arrived – but that was six months ago and as far as he knows their applications have still not been allocated to an officer to look at.

His daughter Vaiga was suffering emotionally as a result, and his wife was struggling by herself, he said.

“It’s really depressing,” he said. “It’s really distressful. And we are literally suffering for being apart for such a long time. I’m just missing the beauty of my child’s childhood. And also, I’m missing all the parenthood milestones.”

He took unpaid leave to go and visit them this month but will miss her third birthday next month.

Immigration New Zealand has been approached for comment.

Gill Bonnett is Immigration Reporter at Radio New Zealand. The above story and Picture have been published under a Special Arrangement with


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