You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The Tibetan government in exile has called on Immigration New Zealand to extend the visa of a Tibetan man who faces deportation after INZ questioned the validity of his marriage to a Dunedin woman.
Dorjee and Patricia Tsering married in India in September last year, within days of meeting each other.
The couple have since moved to Mrs Tsering's home town of Dunedin, but plans to settle here were thrown into disarray after an early morning visit by INZ officials to evaluate the genuineness of their relationship.
INZ subsequently told the Tserings it doubted their relationship was either credible or stable; as Mr Tsering's interim visa has since expired, he was now liable for deportation.
On Monday, Thuten Kesang, Honorary Secretary of the Office of Tibet in New Zealand, wrote a letter of support for the Tserings.
''I normally don't give out these letters that easily without making sure everything is squeaky clean,'' Mr Kesang told the Otago Daily Times newspaper yesterday.
''It is up to the Immigration Department to advise them on the best way to go about getting it [a visa] legally ... she is married to a Tibetan, and from a Tibetan perspective they are legally married.''
Mr Kesang's letter said he had seen all relevant marriage documents and spoken to the Tserings individually and that he could vouch for them as a genuine and legally married couple in the eyes of Indian law.
''The ultimate aim of Patricia and Dorjee is to settle in New Zealand and make a life for themselves here, which is a natural thing to do for any married couple,'' the letter said.
''I would appreciate all due assistance to be given to Dorjee Tsering for his visa extension so that they can follow the due process of law in order that they as a married couple can settle in New Zealand.''
INZ said it had no further comment on the case.