Mother unable to attend son's wedding and graduation in NZ due to previous overstay for medical treatment
A mother from Fiji has been denied a visitor visa to attend her son's graduation and wedding in New Zealand. Despite having 5 children in NZ (citizens and residents), Immigration New Zealand has refused entry to Saras Wati due to her previous overstay in New Zealand in 2016 when she sought treatment for her mental health disorder.
Wati had been visiting New Zealand since 2009 and she was in NZ on a visitor visa in April 2016 and was granted a medical visitor visa in May for her medical treatment. The visa expired in September 2016. However, INZ declined her subsequent requests on the grounds that she did not meet the immigration instructions nor did she have an acceptable standard of health. Wati then applied for a visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009 in 2017, but it was declined. She submitted another application eight months later, which was fortunately approved allowing her to stay through to October 2018.
From 2017 to 2019, Wati applied for multiple visitor visas, all of which were denied. In addition, she sought ministerial intervention and appealed one of the denials to the Immigration Protection Tribunal, but unfortunately, these efforts were unsuccessful. She was served a deportation notice after failing to secure another visa in 2019.
Last year, she made more visa applications, all of which were declined, due to her inability to demonstrate a genuine intention for temporary stay in New Zealand. Her son and his partner are part of the LGBTQI community and, as such, opted to celebrate their union in New Zealand, where they are legally recognised. Though Wati's family paid for a psychiatrist's report that verified her well-managed condition was safe for travel, her visa application was denied again this year. The couple had to proceed with their wedding without Wati, an emotional and hurtful decision.
Although INZ and Richard Owen, the general manager of immigration, sympathised with Wati's family, they encouraged migrants to meet the immigration instructions before applying for a visa. However, her son and sisters work in the healthcare sector in New Zealand and are responsible for looking after vulnerable people. He expressed hope that his aging mother will be granted further rights to visit her future grandchildren in New Zealand.