Friday, March 05, 2021

New Zealand resident left with no choice but to fly to 'Covid-19 ridden India' after his wife refused entry after a year of marriage

A New Zealand resident has had to abandon his work to join his wife in “Covid-19 ridden” India to prove their relationship is genuine.

Ketan Barhate​ married Kalindi Chaudhari​ through an arranged marriage in India in November 2019, but had to return to work in Hawke's Bay as a manager of Clearview Estate – his place of work for six years – shortly after.

Originally from India, Barhate has lived in New Zealand for nine years and had residency since 2016.

The pair applied for a partnership visa once married, but it was declined, as they had not been together long enough – which the couple accepted.

Chaudhari was instead offered a general visitor’s visa by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on March 5, but not a Culturally Arranged Marriage Visitor Visa (CAMV visa).

Lawyer Mark Luscombe, who began assisting the couple last August, said they were given 24 hours to accept the visitor’s visa, which they did.

On March 19, 2020​, she was halted at Mumbai airport as New Zealand closed its borders due to Covid-19.

“No one knew Covid-19 was coming and so an unintended consequence of this error on their part, and of INZ not granting a culturally arranged marriage visa as an alternative (which was an option) is the awful situation they have now,” Luscombe said.”

“It was open to INZ to grant the culturally arranged marriage visa being more appropriate to their circumstances but did not offer that at all – hence Kalindi being left stranded at the departure gate,” Luscombe said.

Applications for a CAMV visa could be made within three months of marriage, but the couple’s realisation came too late.

They were separated for a year due to the pandemic and continued attempts to gain Chaudhari entry.

But after multiple failures, Barhate finally boarded a plane in January this year to be with his wife. The pair have now been living together in his parents’ home for two months, with another partnership visa application made.

05/03/21 Georgia-May Gilbertson/Stuff

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