A Desperate Plea to Bring Me Back Home!

Kia Ora,

I am a resident of Hawkes Bay and it has been my home for close to 6 years while I work for the Hawkes Bay District Health Board as a Procurement Specialist. I am a staunch believer of the Gandhian philosophy in giving back to the community that one lives in, which led me to serve as board member for Hawkes Bay Multicultural Association, Hawkes Bay Young Professionals and the Napier Toastmasters.

Last year I was presented with an opportunity to best serve my community and it was also the highlight of my professional career. I worked tirelessly as part of the logistics arm of the Covid Response team in Hawkes Bay during the lockdown. This included long hours and the weekends but it was the highest work satisfaction that I have ever had by contributing my skills and time in serving my community, by stepping up in the time of need. When the PM cites us as a team of 5 million, I have never felt so belonged.

I am an immigrant with a Work to Residence visa which is called as Talent (Accredited Employer) Visa and my Skilled Migrant Residency application has been accepted and awaits further processing.

On October 27th 2020, I had to leave NZ to meet my ailing father who is now no more. Upon completing all my duties and settling down everything with family, while still dealing with my grief, I find to my dismay that I cannot come back home. Resident Work Visa holders who left NZ between 1st December 2019-9th October 2020 could apply for a request to travel back but I left on October 27th 2020.

I also found out that since I am overseas my residency application is placed under the offshore category and will be processed after the onshore applications. This was fine but I was shocked to find out that I cannot extend my work visa (which expires on 15th November 2021) until the residency is processed. So come November 15th, I cannot extend my work visa even if I am employed and cannot expect my residency application processed with the current backlog, which spells out that this will be the end of the road for me to come back home.

I have lived and worked hard to make Hawkes Bay my home in the last 6 years and now with less than 4 months to go before my work visa expires and no pathway from the government for me to come back home, I find myself in the most desperate and helpless situation.

All I ask is to make the following provisions (but not limited to) in the current policy,

·        To extend the work visa of stranded immigrants who are currently employed with their respective NZ organisations so that they can still work until the borders are opened for them to come back home.

·        To extend the work visa of stranded immigrants who have already applied for their Residency and are currently employed with their NZ organisations so that they could still work until the borders are opened for them to come back home.

·        Extend the dates for ‘Request to Travel’ for Resident Visa holders who left NZ between 1st December 2019-9th October 2020 as it has been close to 9 months since it was last updated.

I am just grateful to you for taking the time to read this petition, thank you. In this most difficult and hopeless situation and where I find no light at the end of the tunnel, I now fall back on my community for its support. I present my case to you to invoke the human spirit of empathy, kindness and fairness in you to see the situation for what it is and request your help in signing this petition. This may not just help me but also many others who find themselves in a similar situation.

I truly believe that I am part of the Hawkes Bay community and part of ‘Team 5 million’ in contrary to any interpretations am asked to believe implicitly, that I was a fool to have left New Zealand to meet my dying father, a fool to have thought to belong to the Hawkes Bay community or a fool to have thought to belong to team ‘5 million’. Of all the years having lived and worked alongside some of the finest people in the Bay, perseveres my faith in humanity, fairness and I am no fool!

I again thank you for your time in reading this and desperately hope to get your support.

Yours Faithfully,

Layeeq Baig.

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