A Malaysian mother of 4 Kiwi children has been denied a residency visa due to her partner's history of sponsoring two other foreign partners. This situation highlights the complexities of New Zealand's immigration laws and the impact they can have on families.
Sharon Choo, 40, is originally from Malaysia. She is married to Barry Eade, 56, a New Zealand citizen and they have four children aged between 5 and 12.
Ms Choo has been living with uncertainty about her future in NZ since moving to NZ four years ago. As per her, it has been “unsettling” and a “daily torture” not knowing if she can be with her children and watch them grow up.
She submitted a residence visa application under the partnership category to INZ in February 2021 and a decision was made in July 2022 to decline the application as she did not meet the requirements to be granted a residence visa. It was because her partner, Barry Eade, has previously supported two successful residence visa applications under the partner category and is, therefore, unable to support her application.
Nicola Hogg, INZ’s general manager for border and visa operations said that under current immigration instructions, for a New Zealand partner to be eligible to support a partnership residence visa application, they must not have acted as a partner in more than one previous successful residence class application.
Ms Choo was granted an interim visa while she waited for the outcome of her work visa under the partnership category, which added to a feeling of uncertainty. Interim visas are granted when an applicant’s current visa is due to expire before a decision is made on their new visa application.
Ms Choo, who currently works as a cleaner, holds a valid work visa and will be able to remain in NZ for the duration of her work visa, which is until October 2024.
The family moved to NZ from Malaysia for their children’s schooling. Talking about his eldest son attending a Chinese school in Malaysia, Eade said “The schooling was very forceful when it came to learning. School starts at 7.30 am to 1.30 pm, and the afternoon is littered with different tuitions.”
Since moving to Auckland and attending Silverdale Primary, Eade said, his eldest son, Sebastian has shown more interest to learn and also has time “to be a kid”.
Their third son also has mild autism and may not receive the same level of support in Malaysia as he does in New Zealand.