• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

The last time Balwinder Singh saw his baby girl she was a month old. He’s just one of many migrants facing immigration heartache in New Zealand.

May 12, 2021

The last time Balwinder Singh saw his baby girl she was a month old.
A year later, Singh is desperate to hold his daughter and hug his wife, but hes losing hope that Immigration New Zealand will ever let that reunion happen.
The 35-year-old drove two hours to join about 200 migrants at a candlelight vigil in Christchurch on Wednesday to plead with the Government to change the current immigration process. They say it is separating families and holding up residency applications.
The newly-formed Federation of Aotearoa Migrants (FOAM) organised four vigils across New Zealand for those unable to attend a protest at Parliament on Thursday, before it held an immigration debate centred on a petition signed by more than 60,000 people calling for temporary visa holders to be given residency.
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Singh, who has been in New Zealand for a decade, was frustrated at the immigration system after being separated from his Indian family for four years. He had repeatedly tried to gain entry for his wife and daughter but had been declined because officials thought his marriage was not genuine.
I dont know what to do. I hope they will listen to us. My wife is not coping. She has given up, and Im giving up too.
Early childhood teacher Shruti Paralkar was visibly emotional, recounting how difficult the past 14 months had been as she waited to see her 6-year-old daughter and husband who remained in India.
Shruti Paralkar, left, receives a hug from Federation of Aotearoa Migrants vice-president Anna Burghardt at a candlelit vigil in Christchurch. Paralkar has been separated from her 6-year-old daughter and her husband for more than a year.
Paralkar spent her life savings moving to New Zealand in 2019 to finish studying, but Covid-19 stopped her being able to apply for a post-study work visa. Instead, she pinned her hopes on getting residency as a skilled migrant in the hope that her family would be allowed to join her until the Government froze new residency applications.
Her situation was made more difficult in August when both her husband and her father-in-law contracted Covid-19. Although both had since recovered, the separation had been distressing.
It breaks my heart when my daughter says Mum, when can I see you again.We are a country that prides itself on being so kind … hopefully they will extend the kindness to us as well.
About 200 migrants lit candles to highlight their immigration plight in Christchurch.
Professional hair stylist Bhard Bhushan, 30, moved to Christchurch four years ago from India. He and his wife applied for residency a year ago just as the Government suspended applications.
With his visa ending in October, Bhushan said he had no certainty over his future. He wanted Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi to act quickly so people like him could make plans.
Federation of Aotearoa Migrants vice-president Anna Burghardt was overwhelmed by the turnout at Christchurchs vigil, saying it reflected how many people were affected by the Governments immigration rules.
Dara Watson-Quintana and Adriana Quintana attend the candlelit vigil to highlight the immigration plight of many migrants in New Zealand.
New Zealands not the paradise everyone thinks it is. There is a lot of human misery here.
Burghardt said immigration issues had started with processing delays pre-Covid but had now grown into something bigger as the pandemic shut borders and separated families.
The German-born migrant received her residency in January after an unsettling 24-month wait.
About 200 people attended a candlelit vigil for migrants experiencing immigration problems.
Its an incredibly long time to live in limbo.
Burghardt said she was motivated to help after hearing the heartbreaking stories of migrants in the community.
Its about time things changed. We need to be heard and seen. Families need to be reunited.
FOAM president Charlotte te Riet Scholten-Phillips said she hoped the vigils and the protest at Parliament would lead to the Government granting all outstanding applicants residency.
People had given up everything to come and live in New Zealand, she told Stuff.
They give it all up to come here and work here and contribute, and be part of this community, and then they’re told essentially ‘you’re very welcome to pay taxes for a bit, but we don’t really want you to stay’. It’s just horrific actually.