Immigration stands firm on declining wife's visa

Herd manager Harrie Chander can stay in New Zealand but Immigration New Zealand wants to send his...
Herd manager Harrie Chander can stay in New Zealand but Immigration New Zealand wants to send his wife, Pawandeep, a nurse, back to India. Mr Chander works for Taieri farmer Mark Adam (also pictured). Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Taieri-based nurse Pawandeep Chander does not have the right to request reconsideration after her application for a work visa was declined, Immigration New Zealand says.

Mrs Chander (24) faces deportation to India as her husband Harjinder's employment as herd manager on a Woodside dairy farm was deemed ''lower skilled'', meaning her application was declined.

Mr Chander (28), who also has a commerce degree, has worked for dairy farmer Mark Adam for nearly six years and is highly regarded by Mr Adam.

The couple married in India in December 2016 and Mrs Chander moved to Otago in August last year.

The Otago Daily Times asked INZ whether the decision would be reconsidered and/or whether an appeal on humanitarian grounds would be considered.

In response, INZ manager Michael Carley said Mr Chander was declined for a work visa under the South Island Contribution work category due to not meeting the requirements set out in the immigration instructions.

Under that work visa category, applicants must have undertaken full-time employment in the South Island as the holder of an Essential Skills visa, for five years between May 22, 2012, and May 22, 2018. He fell nine months and 12 days short of that requirement, Mr Carley said.

While he held an Essential Skills work visa, his occupation was assessed by INZ as a skill level 5 position (lower-skilled).

That meant his wife was not eligible for a work visa on the basis of her relationship with him. Additionally, she had not previously held a visa on the basis of that relationship.

Mrs Chander was unlawfully in New Zealand as of June 24 and therefore did not have the right to request reconsideration, he said.

She could appeal against her liability for deportation on humanitarian grounds to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal no later than 42 days after first being unlawfully in the country.

Mr and Mrs Chander approached Dunedin South MP Clare Curran's office for assistance late last week.

Yesterday, Ms Curran said information from INZ indicated they could request consideration under section 61 of the Immigration Act - (that section said INZ might consider granting a visa under that section but only in ''special'' cases) or appeal to the tribunal.

She encouraged Mrs Chander to investigate options to meet requirements to obtain registration as a nurse in New Zealand.

National immigration spokesman Michael Woodhouse late yesterday said he had offered to support the couple in their issues with INZ.

''As minister of immigration for nearly five years, I have a pretty good working knowledge of visa policy and instructions and am keen to both understand why INZ declined the visa and, on the basis of what I know of their case, advocate for them.''


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