FOR 20 months, my residency application was stuck in Immigration New Zealand’s application queue. The system’s glacial progress finally caught up with my application one month ago and a case officer started looking over my residency application. A week ago, I have been granted residency visa in New Zealand. I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I feel right now.
In 2015, when I applied for my student visa back in 2015 I had no plan for residency. Then the only concern was to get my student visa & my student loan approval. At the time, I assumed that would be the hardest step.
If I had a chance to travel back in time & talk with the 2015 me, I would lie & reassure him that was the hardest step. Why should I tell him that life is going to get harder?
My student visa application had its roadblocks. Immigration medical check was a chest x-ray from Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. They found a spot in the x-ray above my lungs which they said is probably harmless but because of it, I had to do more tests. When I found out that the test would delay the whole process by at least 6 weeks, I broke down. I remember going to my immigration advisor at the time and just asking them if there is anyway I could just withdraw my plans and just give up. I think I was close to tears then. They supported me & I think I should write them a email notifying them of my current state. They reassured me that things will get better and I continued with the process. I eventually got my visa.
In 2017, I had to apply for my second visa, a work visa which had some nightmares too. At this point, I had graduated and secured a full time position. However, turns out Lilavati hospital never sent followup medical documents back in 2015. I had to email & my parents called them to ask for the remaining document which the Hospital should have submitted.
My visa was approved 3 weeks late. I still count on my lucky stars that my work contract wasn’t nullified and I could resume work after getting my visa.
In 2018, I was prepared to apply for my third visa. I had researched everything, written down all list of documents and medicals I needed to do. I repeatedly called Immigration New Zealand call center to get as much information. I applied for my visa 3 month in advance to make sure that my visa arrives in time.
It went seamlessly. There were no hiccups, no emails for more documents from Immigration NZ & my visa was granted well in advance.
Aside from my residency application, I am really proud of this one.
<Posts from 2018 >
It is in September of 2018 that I was finally able to qualify for residency. I had a trip to India planned in November so I lazily submitted my application over November & December. If only I knew what I know now, I would have made sure I finish my application before December 2018.
The only thing I could do since that application was submitted was wait. I could regularly call Immigration’s call center to see if there was any update and I would always get the same answer: No change. 2019 came and was slowly leaving with no change.
In 2019, I had to apply for a work visa renewal in December. I got that within 7 days.
By March, Immigration New Zealand had their Residency application submission portal closed as the queue was too large. The numbers varied but I guess it was around 30,000 people like me were waiting. Then Covid-19 hit.
Covid-19 changed everything. Travels stopped, therefore I imagine Immigration had more people who could handle their massive queues. In addition, Immigration minister was sacked because he misused his office.
It was after 20 months, in August of 2020 I finally heard from a case officer. I was ecstatic: something finally happened.
All I had to do is wait. After waiting for 20 months, I figured I could wait until end of October before I would look into applying for a visa renewal. But on September 23rd I received an email enclosing my residency. I texted everyone: my parents my friends. I started writing this post.
The next day, my manager & his partner surprised me with a gift package containing snacks made in New Zealand & capture the Kiwi way of life. I think I loved Kiwi dip the most.
I spent the evening looking up things I have been meaning to get all these 20 months. I scoured SPCA website to look at cats I can adopt. I looked at mattresses & browsed self contained apartments just to daydream. I could finally sit down and figure out what my future would look like and what kind of things do I want without worrying about a deadline in my visa. The constant anxiety that sometimes raged a storm in my head has finally calmed down.
I guess now all I have to do is just live my life to the fullest.