Migrant ordered to leave New Zealand after sex texts raise visa, relationship questions

A man has been ordered to leave New Zealand after admitting to immigration officials that he sent sexually-explicit texts to escorts, despite claiming to be in a loving, long-term relationship.

The 28-year-old Indian citizen came to New Zealand in 2012 on a student visa.

After completing a business diploma, he extended his stay, firstly through a post-study employer-assisted work visa, and then further student visas.

And in May last year, the man made an application for a partnership work visa, based on his relationship with a Cook Island Māori woman and New Zealand citizen who he meton a social media site.

But when the couple were interviewed in February, immigration officials had doubts over their “genuineness and stability” of the partnership.

Immigration New Zealand also wrote to the man with concerns he’d worked as an Uber driver in breach of visa conditions and failed to demonstrate that his partnership was “genuine, stable, credible or exclusive”.

The visa application was declined and the man became liable for deportation back to India.

He then appealed to the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds, claiming it would be “unjust or unduly harsh” for him to be deported.

But the tribunal, in a newly-released decision, rejected his appeal.

The decision shows that the man, identified only as JS, admitted to immigration officials back in February that he sent sexually-explicit texts to escorts but had done so “merely out of fun”.

When his partner had learned that he had met an escort, she had not objected, the tribunal heard.

The couple were “mature” enough to handle the situation, JS had said, adding it was not against the law “to go to such places”.

They alleged that Immigration New Zealand was prejudiced because they came from different cultures and races, arguing that they suffered a “shallow and unfair assessment” process.

However, the tribunal didn’t agree.

“In making the claim that the appellant is entitled to contact escorts, the couple have overlooked, or failed to understand, the importance of demonstrating that their partnership is exclusive of others,” its decision states.

“The tribunal cannot be satisfied that the couple’s partnership is genuine, stable and likely to endure.”

The tribunal concluded it is not satisfied that JS met the high threshold required for exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature and declined the appeal.

The decision means JS must leave New Zealand with 28 days or he will be deported.

Given the current Covid-19 travel restrictions and uncertainty around commercial flights, the tribunal advised he contact the High Commission of India in New Zealand to register for a possible repatriation flight or contact Immigration New Zealand for a temporary visa until a flight can be confirmed.

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