New Zealand family split apart by immigration ruling over sick daughter

Published:  15 May at 6 PM
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A ruling by New Zealand’s immigration department is about to split up an immigrant family with full citizenship as the eldest daughter still living in Fiji has been refused a family visa due to her heart condition.

Archana Arishma Kumar, still living in the former family home in Fiji, has a congenital heart condition and has been surviving on her own as her family are now citizens of New Zealand living in New Plymouth. Arishma was allowed to stay with her family during her younger years and went to school in New Plymouth on a student visa, after which she was forced to return to Fiji.

Last week, friends of Arishma found her collapsed at home after she had been told she would be refused a visa to join her family. She told reporters from a Fijian newspaper that she was so unhappy and stressed at being away from her family that it was affecting her medical condition.

According to a spokesperson from NZ immigration, her visa was declined as her standard of health was unacceptable. The official also said that she had previously stayed unlawfully in the country after her student visa had expired.

Kumar’s parents deny the overstay accusation, saying she had been given extra time to appeal against an earlier immigration decision, and had left for Fiji as instructed in January 2013. The entire family has signed a bond stating that they would be entirely responsible for all Kumar’s medical bills should she be allowed to return.

Their promise, however, seems not have impressed NZ immigration, and her mother is now preparing to split the family by flying to live with her daughter in Fiji and take care of her should she fall sick. A previous appeal failed due to the fact that no evidence was given to prove that possible medical costs would be less than NZ$25,000.
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