22 October 2021 8:41

“We are migrants not virus. Allow us back”: Visa holders stage protest in India

“I had come with my wife and daughter after the baby’s birth, but then got stranded here due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, our temporary visas expired, and now neither the Indian nor the New Zealand government are helping us return to our homes.”

Recently, a group of 80 Indians who live in New Zealand either on migrant or student visas staged a protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

In a tweet, the protestors claim that despite paying thousands of dollars and having a valid work visas, Indian offshore migrants are fighting for their rights.

“Because The PM of New Zealand @jacindaardern and Immigration Minister keep ignoring these migrants for more than 19 months.”

For the past 18 months, these people have been stranded in India as New Zealand has suspended travel from India due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Image source: NZOffshoreMigrants – Twitter.
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The group is led by Jagdeep Singh who worked at a healthcare logistics company in New Zealand.

Jagdeep Singh has been stuck in India since 2020 following a family visit with his newborn daughter.

“I had come with my wife and daughter after the baby’s birth, but then got stranded here due to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, our temporary visas expired, and now neither the Indian nor the New Zealand government are helping us return to our homes.”

Jagdeep Singh told the media that all of those who returned to India for various personal reasons are now in a similar situation.

“Many of the protesters are students who are unable return to complete their education. Our entire lives, work, properties, everything is there,” said Mr Singh.

“Eighty per cent of people’s temporary visas have expired in the last one year, and the New Zealand government has closed all offshore file processes,”

added Mr Jagdeep Singh.

The protestors have written to  written to both the Indian and New Zealand governments but but no one has bothered to resolve their problem.

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Image source: NZOffshoreMigrants – Twitter.

Rini Mohandas has tweeted that due to the delays in opening borders between India and New Zealand, many migrants and students’ visas have expired.

“Many of us visas are expired including split families, post study wrk visas due to border closure for no reason. Other valid visa holders are stuck. We are suffering for mor than 20 months now.”

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Another protestor, Harpreet Singh, has tweeted to the leaders of India and New Zealand highlighting his despairing situation.

“Life is destroyed, disturbed and depressed due to corona virus.”

In his tweet, Pritpal Chopra has summed up the frustration felt by these stranded migrants.

“We are migrant not virus. Allow us back.”

The protestors tweeted that the NZ Government and Immigration promotes work rights after study and an easy residency pathway after study. However, the reality of New Zealand immigration is very different.

“In reality, they are fighting for rights but didn’t get a single word from @jacindaardern or @KrisinMana for 19 months.”

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Image source: New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden – Twitter.

In a statement, the protestors said that they will continue to protest every day until they get some assurance from these governments.

“Please understand every migrant stuck offshore has worked hard and paid lots of taxes for the growth of the New Zealand economy.

So please give us the same respect, value and support as the New Zealand government has given for current onshore migrants.”

The protesters demanded that the New Zealand government immediately allow them to return.

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Image source: NZOffshoreMigrants – Twitter.

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