NEW Zealand has denied a man’s visa application because his locally born wife is almost 40 years older than him.
The New Zealand Herald reports that Balwinder Singh, 22, met New Zealander Glyn Kessell, 59, at a hair salon in Glenfield last year.
Mr Singh says the relationship started with text messages but that the pair became intimate three weeks later. The couple was married only two months after that.
The Indian man is an international student and applied for a work visa claiming partnership but had his application rejected.
“We have noted that you and your partner have a significant age gap,” Immigration NZ wrote to Mr Singh, “and noting the religious and cultural differences between you and your partner, we are not convinced that you and your partner have demonstrated that this relationship is likely to endure.”
Mr Singh says the decision is both “ageist and racist.”
“I could have gone with any younger Kiwi girls, but I chose my wife because I loved her,” he said. “Age is just a number. It is also wrong to question the cultural difference, because if I wanted to be fully Indian, I would have remained in India.”
Mrs Kessell-Singh, who has a 37-year-old son, was asked by Immigration NZ how she felt about being older than her in-laws, who are 46 and 45.
“I don’t give a stuff … I am 21 in my mind. It’s not about the age, it’s about who you like. Age is not relevant,” she said.
Immigration NZ area manager Michael Carley denied the decision was ageist or racist.
“The couple got married after an uncommonly short three-month courtship. It was noted during a visit to the couple’s home that their living arrangement appeared to be akin to a boarding situation,” he said.
Mr Singh has filed a complaint but faces deportation.