Migrant’s chances of being with fiance in New Zealand slimmer every day – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: September 16, 2021 at 5:52 am

OPINION: I am just another migrant from adeveloping country. I came to New Zealand on a Student Visa in 2017 with a hope to change my future.

I studied a masters of architecture (professional) at Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland.

This is one of the most competitive courses in New Zealand. I worked really hard to overcome all obstacles.

I remember all the cold winter walks to my accommodation, 5kmaway, because there was no bus service after 11.45pm, with all my architecture drawings and drafting tools.

It was an experience.

However, a real challenge presented during my final thesis semester when my grandfather died of old age.

The man who raised mewas no more.

Thankfully, I was able to go back to my home within 20 hoursto attend his funeral.

It was such depressing times, my professors and thesis mentors asked me to extend the thesis.

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But I was not ready to give up. I pushed myself to complete the thesis within the initial stipulated time, and became a graduate in 2019.

Finally, I became a New Zealand architectural graduate.

I come from a low to medium income family. For me, working was never an option. It was imperative.

I didnt have the choices to pick my job. I worked whereverjobpresented itself. I worked in a milk formula packing factory, as a midnight cleaner at a mall, weekend gardener for a lovely family in Remuera, and as a factory assistant at a furniture company.

With my constant effort, I was also able to get into some jobs that strengthened my resume, like an internshipat areputed architecture firm, design internship at a reputed digital marketing firm, a construction labour job,and an assistant project manager role with a construction firm.

Through these jobs I was able to gain practical knowledge. Allof these jobs were either minimum wage or voluntary.

But these jobs gave me a strong portfolio.

There was alight at the end.

After months of struggle, my hard work finally paid off with an architectural designer job in 2019.

This job is a dream cometrue. So far,I have had the opportunity to design more than 75residential buildings in thespan of less than two years.

Its a huge step up in my career. At this current job, I get to design conceptual plans, elevations, make 3D renders, and print 3D models of houses I have designed.

How cool is my job?

People might say I was lucky getting this job. But, this opportunity didnt simply fall in my hands.

I worked really hard to earn my job.

Nothing in my life happened because of luck. I dont believe in luck, but I believe in hard work.

Meanwhile, I'm in a long distance relationship.It's been eight years, and counting. I met myfiance in 2013.

We quickly fell in love.

I wanted to be financially stable before I asked her to marry me. After so many struggles, I felt I was in a good position in New Zealand.

So, in 2019, I asked and she said yes. Like rest of my story, it wasnt a smooth path.

Even the most anticipated proposal I planned and booked went for a toss.

From a helicopter ride to the mountains, to photographers and a spa.The entire engagement celebration was booked.

I even personally designed and had the diamond engagement ring specially made by a jeweller. All my excitement went south when myfiances visitor visa got rejected.

The reason - we are not satisfied that you have strong intensions in returning to your home country.

One of many waysImmigration New Zealand rejects people from adeveloping country, despite having granted one year multiple entry tourist visas in Australia.

Heartbroken, but unwilling to give up, I shifted my whole plan to Australia.

It wasnt a grand alpine engagement, but a humble, deep woods surprise. When the land of the long white cloud said noto us, the mighty blue mountains said yes.

What changed today? I went home in January 2020 to get my elders blessing for our wedding.

We planned our wedding for July 2020. Everything went downhill after that.

Covid-19 happened, borders closed in March 2020. In November 2020, I submitted my expression of interest for an Skilled Migrant CategoryVisa with 185 points.

AP

Covid-19 has left many migrants stranded.

Because of my professional experience, I will receive an additional 20 points in October 2021.

The expression of interestpool is still closed, therefore it's no use.

With no promises from Immigration New Zealand, the processing duration is unpredictable.

In addition, Immigration New Zealand has closed down its office in my home country, India.

Suddenly, everything in life became uncertain.

To choose between family and career.

On the one side, I am unable to be with my fiance due to border closures, and we are unable to show our union, since we lack the typical proofrequired by Immigration New Zealand.

Our chances of being together in New Zealand are growing slim every day.

On the other hand, I have a wonderful job with good pay, a boss who treats me like family (I spent last year's Christmas break with his entire family at his sister's house), friends, and a community that loves me.

I've even started saving for a home that we'll build for our future in New Zealand, after I get my residency.

Another empty dream or a future that is all set and ready.

We are compelled to choose between our families and our careers. Why can't our visa have a pause buttonin these trying times?

We could go home and care for our families and loved ones. And then return to New Zealand to resume our careers.

Most of us migrantsare not afraid of losing our jobs, or finding a new one, but of losing our chance to return to New Zealand if we leave.

Whats going on inside me? I'm not blaming anyone in particular. I recognise that I am simply an unfortunate individual in a bad circumstance.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel for me. Life has suddenly become so full of uncertainties that my mind feels like it's about to explode.

People who know me well tell me that I am extremely fortunate because I have the willpower to push forward against all the odds and do not rely on chance.

But I don't think I'm as fortunate as I once was.

I feel uneasy and disposable since Immigration New Zealand changes its guidelines so frequently.

Prior to the closure of the border, I used to close my eyes at 10.00 pmand wake up at6.30am sharp the next morning, without the need for an alarm.

Everything in my life was meticulously organised, and I always had a backup plan in place, so my mind was at ease and I was able to sleep soundly.

However, I can hear every clock tick as I sleep, and I wake up to every notification on from theImmigration New Zealand Facebook page.

I can't stop thinking about a strategy to keep both my family and my job.

I am aware that I am depressed, but I simply put on a cheerful front and go about my business.

Depression, mental health, and well-being are all luxury items that poor migrants can notafford.

Whats next?I'm a young designer who is intelligent, well-educated, and really talented.

Rather than a deadline, I've opted for a plan. 2022 February will mark the end of my two-year battle in New Zealand as a result of the border closure, and I will not travel any further.

If things go as per plan, I will go home, get married and come back with my wife when border closure gets relaxed.

If things dont get any better with Immigration New Zealandor the border closure, I will choose other options.

I believe, if I work hard and smart as I do now, I have excellent opportunities in other counties.

I am sure it will set me back by two or threeyears in my career, butat least I could be with my loved ones.

I would definitely miss my job, my boss, friends and this beautiful country.

But its a sacrifice worth taking for being with my family again.

I will not consider this part of my journey as a sad ending story but an adventurous one.

New Zealand made me who I am today. Itgave me the best career opportunities, amazing work culture and wonderful memories.

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Migrant's chances of being with fiance in New Zealand slimmer every day - Stuff.co.nz

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