Widow fears per­se­cu­tion af­ter NZ exit


The widow of a Hawke’s Bay drown­ing vic­tim fears cul­tural per­se­cu­tion in her na­tive In­dia, af­ter her New Zealand work visa was can­celled.

Hemin Lim­bachiya used his last breath to plead for Tanvi Bhavsar to be res­cued when he drowned at Waimarama Beach on Jan­uary 14 – a few weeks af­ter the pair’s wed­ding in In­dia.

The 26-year-old’s death meant the cou­ple’s res­i­dency ap­pli­ca­tion was re­fused and spelled the end of Bhavsar’s work visa in Fe­bru­ary.

She is back in In­dia but friends say she is seen as a bad omen and ‘‘hus­band killer’’.

Im­mi­gra­tion NZ has granted Bhavsar a three-month vis­i­tor visa, which she will spend pe­ti­tion­ing to re­main in the coun­try. ‘‘I spent two or so years in New Zealand ... I had my ca­reer over there. All mine and Hemin’s fu­ture plans were in stay­ing in New Zealand. My fam­ily is over there. It was not my fault, or Hemin’s fault.’’

Bhavsar was re­luc­tant to com­ment on the cul­tural per­se­cu­tion a widow faced in In­dia.

Friend Prashin Kumar elab­o­rated, say­ing Bhavsar was con­sid­ered ‘‘in­aus­pi­cious’’ out­side her close fam­ily.

‘‘Ev­ery­one does see her as a per­son who killed her hus­band.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, that is the way our cul­ture is.’’

The cou­ple had been liv­ing here on work visas for about two years – Lim­bachiya the prin­ci­pal ap­pli­cant, and Bhavsar on a part­ner­ship visa.

While Lim­bachiya sat­is­fied the res­i­dent visa points re­quire­ments un­der the skilled mi­grant cat­e­gory through an ac­coun­tancy job, Bhavsar’s re­tail job in Napier did not. Her res­i­dency ap­pli­ca­tion was de­clined in March.

Im­mi­gra­tion NZ man­ager Stephanie Great­head re­it­er­ated the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s con­do­lences to Bhavsar. ‘‘Im­mi­gra­tion NZ was un­able to award any of the points that Ms Bhavsar’s hus­band had claimed and, as he was the prin­ci­pal ap­pli­cant, there was no other op­tion but to de­cline the ap­pli­ca­tion.’’ Bhavsar did not meet the cri­te­ria for any other res­i­dent cat­e­gory. Bhavsar has not yet chal­lenged the de­ci­sion at the Im­mi­gra­tion and Pro­tec­tion Tri­bunal while friend Kumar has been lob­by­ing local politi­cians.

A spokes­woman said Napier MP Stu­art Nash was yet to be briefed on the tech­ni­cal as­pects of the case. ‘‘He will look closely at the cir­cum­stances ... and give some thought about how to best progress Tanvi’s ap­pli­ca­tion through the right chan­nels.’’

Hemin Lim­bachiya, left, and Tanvi Bhavsar on their wed­ding day.

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