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.