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At the request of rangatira (community leaders) around the country, Multicultural New Zealand is holding an urgent national hui this week to listen to the concerns around some of the covid-19 related immigration policies causing mental health issues and family separation.

Last week Immigration New Zealand announced that they were cancelling visitor visas applied for including partners of people living in New Zealand. This follows a decision in 2019 by INZ to grant a visitor visa for individuals in culturally arranged marriages instead of a partnership visa.

This is having a devastating impact on New Zealand’s iwi taketake communities,” MNZ President, Pancha Narayanan, says. “Covid border closures and travel bans have already put huge strain on parents, partners, families and communities. This is impacting on hundreds of thousands of people. New Zealand's communities are in crisis. MNZ is receiving numerous pleas for action. We need Immigration to answer for these incomprehensible changes to granting various types of visas.

In June 2021 Multicultural New Zealand put out a nationwide survey to gain perspective on the impacts of travel bans and family separation. The data showed critical impacts on mental health and functionality. Narayanan says. “These are our doctors, nurses, police, engineers, IT specialists, teachers, chefs. When people who manage our safety, health, and other aspects of our daily lives cannot perform their responsibilities, this becomes the whole nation’s problem and we urgently need to address it.”

Multicultural New Zealand is hosting a national zoom conference this Friday with community leaders from around the motu. MPs and press are invited.

Community leaders express serious frustration in response to covid-19 related immigration policies

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