Honeymooners have been trapped in Fiji far longer than planned after a diplomatic snafu that has rendered them unable to return to New Zealand.
Abdulla Mohsin and Catherine David are British nationals. Moshin was recruited by the government of New Zealand the two moved to from Derbyshire to Auckland in 2019 on a “work to residence” visa. That form of visa offers permanent residence after 24 months of work in New Zealand.
Mohsin works for Kainga Ora, a government housing agency.
On March 7th, the couple celebrated their marriage by traveling to Fiji to honeymoon. At the time, no travel restrictions were in place. But on March 19th, borders were closed and the couple first attempted to get home.
They were denied. Again, again, and again. Four flights. Four denials. The reason given? Their visas were not in order…only permanent residents and citizens were allowed to return. Mohsin told the BBC:
“We’ve had four opportunities to fly. We’ve been turned away at baggage check-in each time.
“We’re stuck in Fiji, with a suitcase of holiday clothes, I still have to pay rent in New Zealand, for a house I can’t currently live in.
“I’m still paying bills, I’m still paying taxes on my income, but I’m not allowed to enter the country.
“Our biggest fears are that if the pandemic gets worse, they may not have the healthcare facilities to take care of us.”
Mohsin leveled particularly harsh charges against the government of New Zealand, stating:
“The New Zealand government recruited me, and they’ve severely failed in their duty of care to provide us with the correct visas to return to the country.”
I held off on writing this hoping the problem would be resolved today, but it seems the couple is still in limbo. This seems like a clear error and I have trouble understanding how they could have possibly been stranded over a month.
Even if they waited longer than they should have to return, hopefully their papers are quickly resolved.