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.
READ MORE:*An immigration scam encouraged by the New Zealand government*Work visa holders stranded overseas share heartbreak stories*Christchurch shooting survivor pleads for residency
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.
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.
Read more here:
- New Zealand's COVID-19 re-opening plans leave Maori feeling exposed - Reuters - December 3rd, 2021
- New Zealand Introduces New COVID-19 Management System - Voice of America - December 3rd, 2021
- New Zealand to ease COVID measures this week despite Omicron threat - PM - Reuters - December 3rd, 2021
- New Zealand's Cairns not sure he will walk again after spinal stroke - Reuters - December 3rd, 2021
- New Zealand to enshrine protections for pill testing in world first - The Guardian - December 3rd, 2021
- Covid-19 update: 92 new community cases reported in New Zealand today - RNZ - December 3rd, 2021
- How NFTs are changing the New Zealand art world - Stuff.co.nz - December 3rd, 2021
- Who is New Zealands new opposition leader Christopher Luxon? - The Guardian - December 3rd, 2021
- 10 ways New Zealand employers can turn the 'great resignation' into a 'great recruitment' - The Conversation AU - December 3rd, 2021
- 90 pct of Kiwis getting first COVID-19 vaccine proves New Zealand isn't a 'divided nation' - Grant Robertson - Newshub - December 3rd, 2021
- Was New Zealand too slow to deploy police and soldiers to the Solomon Islands? - Stuff.co.nz - December 3rd, 2021
- India vs New Zealand 2021: Tim Southee says Wankhede will be `another challenge` in 2nd Test - Zee News - December 3rd, 2021
- Virat Kohli returns as India take on New Zealand in second test - The Tribune - December 3rd, 2021
- IND vs NZ: 'It's so lopsided it's not funny': New Zealand great slams team set-up, says 'stop hiding in the grass' - Hindustan Times - December 3rd, 2021
- New Zealand city becomes one of first in world to introduce a climate tax for residents - The Independent - December 3rd, 2021
- Rugby: All Black Ardie Savea recommits to New Zealand Rugby and the Hurricanes - New Zealand Herald - December 3rd, 2021
- Many New Zealand youth show interest in online platforms and streamers in survey - RNZ - December 3rd, 2021
- Immigration blocks pathway for at-risk Afghans to settle in New Zealand - RNZ - December 3rd, 2021
- Rachin Ravindra - the cricketer you want, and the friend you need - ESPNcricinfo.com - December 3rd, 2021
- Biceps and buddies: Kiwi arm-wrestlers share their secrets - Stuff.co.nz - December 3rd, 2021
- New Zealand well-placed to detect and contain new Omicron Covid variant - expert - Stuff.co.nz - December 3rd, 2021
- Six shortcuts on New Zealand's Great Walks: Day hikes and taster trails - New Zealand Herald - December 3rd, 2021
- Graham Hawkes inducted into New Zealand Hospitality Hall of Fame - Stuff.co.nz - December 3rd, 2021
- New Zealand milk production up but cow numbers fall - New Zealand Herald - December 3rd, 2021
- 'Scared as' Hauraki iwi on high alert as New Zealand enters the traffic light system - Stuff.co.nz - December 3rd, 2021
- Letters to the Editor: New Zealand's women politicians are showing the way - Telegraph India - December 3rd, 2021
- Housing: New Zealand prices to calm next year before fall - poll - Newshub - November 28th, 2021
- T20 World Cup: Confident Pakistan ready to seek revenge ... - November 28th, 2021
- Rohit Sharma leading India is a big change, we all are ... - November 28th, 2021
- In New Zealand, Tangata Whenua Marks The People There First - Foreign Policy - November 28th, 2021
- Dell hones focus on New Zealand market with country manager appointment - ZDNet - November 28th, 2021
- Coronavirus: New Zealand in 'good position' to combat new Omicron variant - Ministry of Health - Newshub - November 28th, 2021
- 'I would like to give the Kiwis the last 45-30 mins to bat': Karthik predicts the target India will set for New Zealand - Hindustan Times - November 28th, 2021
- Tricor Group Completes Acquisition of NZGT Holding Company Limited, A Leading Corporate Trustee and Fund Supervisor in New Zealand with NZ$250 Billion... - November 28th, 2021
- New Zealand opposition leader Judith Collins ousted after move to demote rival backfires - The Guardian - November 28th, 2021
- 'You are free': What it felt like to flee Afghanistan for a new life in New Zealand - Stuff.co.nz - November 28th, 2021
- India vs New Zealand: Irfan Pathan Explains Why Shubman Gill Will Have To "Work On His Technique" - NDTVSports.com - November 28th, 2021
- Air New Zealand Supports Sustainably Endorsed Tourism Businesses In New Zealand | Scoop News - Scoop - November 28th, 2021
- Shreyas Iyer Reveals What Rahul Dravid Instructed Him To Do On Day 4 Of Kanpur Test vs New Zealand - NDTVSports.com - November 28th, 2021
- COVID-19 expert explains why New Zealand is 'well-placed to manage threat' of new South African variant - Newshub - November 28th, 2021
- India's 5 Biggest Wins vs New Zealand In Tests - Cricket Addictor - November 28th, 2021
- New Zealand 'deeply concerned' over Solomon Islands riots - RNZ - November 28th, 2021
- Air New Zealand cancels more than 1000 flights as New Zealand shifts to living with COVID-19 - 9News - November 28th, 2021
- Good and bad news for New Zealand sport after Government's MIQ announcement; Super Rugby Pacific in doubt - New Zealand Herald - November 28th, 2021
- Whey too expensive: New Zealand cheese lovers forced to eke out supplies as prices jump - theguardian.com - November 23rd, 2021
- Bangladesh's Tamim ruled out of New Zealand tour - report - Reuters - November 23rd, 2021
- Princess Announces 2023-2024 Cruises and Cruisetours From Australia and New Zealand - Cruise Industry News - November 23rd, 2021
- Twelve-year low leaves powerless New Zealand in need of urgent recharge - The Telegraph - November 23rd, 2021
- New Zealand-based oyster-farming system FlipFarm takes home GSA innovation award - SeafoodSource - November 23rd, 2021
- New Zealand's climate change regulation is messy and complex -- heres how to improve it - The Conversation AU - November 23rd, 2021
- Are New Zealands universities doing enough to define the limits of academic freedom? - The Conversation AU - November 23rd, 2021
- Club behind Team New Zealand gets venue petition - RNZ - November 23rd, 2021
- New Zealand Breakers camp hit by Covid-19 - RNZ - November 23rd, 2021
- It's time to imagine New Zealand without production animals - Stuff.co.nz - November 23rd, 2021
- Indian New Zealanders amongst the most highly-vaccinated in the country - RNZ - November 23rd, 2021
- The Detail: What will living with Covid look like in the future? - Stuff.co.nz - November 23rd, 2021
- Newshub-Reid Research poll: Half of New Zealand doesn't support Three Waters reforms - Newshub - November 23rd, 2021
- Summer arrives early this year in New Zealand - The Bay's News First - SunLive - November 23rd, 2021
- Disposable masks washed 10 times still more protective than triple-layer fabric masks - study - RNZ - November 23rd, 2021
- Covid-19: How New Zealand's vaccine restrictions compare to those overseas - Stuff.co.nz - November 23rd, 2021
- Unusual bedfellows: how gangs are pushing New Zealands Covid vaccination drive - The Guardian - November 21st, 2021
- France stand firm to seal first victory over New Zealand for 12 years - The Guardian - November 21st, 2021
- India sweep T20 series against New Zealand to kick off Dravid era - Reuters India - November 21st, 2021
- Dissent, threats and fury: mood darkens in New Zealand as Covid restrictions bite - The Guardian - November 21st, 2021
- Benee to kick off World Tour with 10 New Zealand shows in 2022 - Stuff.co.nz - November 21st, 2021
- Ross Taylor: 'Any time you play India at home, you're going to be the underdogs' - ESPNcricinfo.com - November 21st, 2021
- Travel bites: On the hunt for New Zealand's best brownie - Stuff.co.nz - November 21st, 2021
- India vs New Zealand: Ready to be flexible and bat wherever team wants me to - Venkatesh Iyer - India Today - November 21st, 2021
- krito, West Coast: One of the best natural wonders in New Zealand - Stuff.co.nz - November 21st, 2021
- India beat New Zealand by 73 runs in third T20I, seal series 3-0 - Business Standard - November 21st, 2021
- Groundswell NZ's 'Mother of all Protests' takes steps to avoid being hijacked by anti-vaxxers - New Zealand Herald - November 21st, 2021
- Leprosy still exists in New Zealand, with new cases in Canterbury - Stuff.co.nz - November 21st, 2021
- 'If I was New Zealand supporter, I would have demanded a refund': Gambhir lashes out on NZ's T20 WC final's performance - Hindustan Times - November 21st, 2021
- Opinion: We need to remember what New Zealand represents to the world - New Zealand Herald - November 21st, 2021
- Cycling NZ CEO Jacques Landry quits after three years in job - Stuff.co.nz - November 21st, 2021
- Stead admits NZ are facing a 'tough and challenging' schedule - ESPNcricinfo.com - November 21st, 2021
- 'Wicket in Kolkata will suit him': Gautam Gambhir looks forward to one change in India's XI for 3rd T20I vs New Zealand - Hindustan Times - November 21st, 2021
- Live Covid-19 updates for 22 November - all you need to know - RNZ - November 21st, 2021
- New Zealand Cricket wants the Black Caps to be the All Blacks of the cricketing world - Stuff.co.nz - November 21st, 2021
- New Zealand's Biggest City Is to Ease Lockdown Restrictions - The New York Times - November 9th, 2021