Covid-19: troubled migrant relieved to finally start new job after visa delays

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An Indian migrant who was unable to pay his rent and provide for his baby after delays from Immigration New Zealand prevented him from working has had his visa application approved.

Preetham Gayam is currently the sole breadwinner of his wife Prashanthi and their 8 month old son Rudhvik.

He has lived in New Zealand since 2014 when he moved to Auckland from Hyderabad to study Hospitality Management at Otago Polytechnic in 2014.

Preetham Gayam - pictured with his wife Prashanthi and their 8-month-old son Rudhvik - was unable to start his new, better-paying job due to delays caused by Covid-19 at Immigration NZ.

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

Preetham Gayam – pictured with his wife Prashanthi and their 8-month-old son Rudhvik – was unable to start his new, better-paying job due to delays caused by Covid-19 at Immigration NZ.

Gayam, now a chef on an Essential Skills visa, applied for a variant condition on July 16, after being offered a higher paying job at the Park Hyatt hotel in the CBD, assuming he could make a living from his savings during the approximate 41-day processing time, according to the NZ Immigration website.

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However, delays caused by the Covid-19 lockdown at Immigration NZ due to staff not being able to work on Gayam’s paper application at home means it was only approved 69 days longer. late.

The delays saw Gayam being three to four weeks behind in rent payments and relying on food packages and diaper loans to care for their son, as the family’s visa status meant they couldn’t receive support from Work and Income.

It was stressful having to rely on donations and loans from friends to take care of his family, especially since his request was “right there” waiting to be processed, Gayam said.

Gayam, who is his family's sole breadwinner, said it was stressful to rely on donated food and diapers to take care of his wife and baby.

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

Gayam, who is his family’s sole breadwinner, said it was stressful to rely on donated food and diapers to take care of his wife and baby.

“I have the opportunity to work, I have skills.

But September 23, the same day Thing posted a story about Gayam’s struggles and after asking Park Hyatt for more information, Immigration NZ approved his request to change the condition, allowing him to start working.

“There were delays in awarding Mr. Gayam’s request for the reasons mentioned above and we recognize the uncertainty this delay has caused to the Gayam family,” said Nicola Hogg, director general of border operations. and NZ Immigration visas.

Prashanti Gayam is currently staying at home to care for baby Rudhvik and is not entitled to parental leave benefits.

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

Prashanti Gayam is currently staying at home to care for baby Rudhvik and is not entitled to parental leave benefits.

Gayam said he was “really happy” to finally be able to work.

“It’s like so much relief.”

It started at the Park Hyatt hotel on Monday, where it will cook for staff and serve coffee and pastries until the Covid-19 alert level allows the restaurant to open.

Gayam added that he was grateful to have received approximately $ 1,500 in donations from former colleagues and his local community, including $ 500 from a Thing reader.

“They are there for me.


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