updated 9 Dec 2013, 07:28
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Tue, Jul 09, 2013
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Visa denied due to age difference

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 Indian national Balwinder Singh, 22, met New Zealander Glyn Kessell, 59, at a hair salon in Glenfield last year.

He says the relationship started with text messages, but the pair became intimate three weeks later and got married two months after that.

He is an international student and had applied for a work visa claiming partnership, but his application was 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 love her,” he says.

“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 care. I am 21 in my mind.

It’s not about the age, it’s about who you like. Age is not relevant,” she says.

Immigration NZ area manager Michael Carley denies the decision is 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.

The application was assessed twice by different officers and the service had concerns about the couple’s differing future expectations.

The couple’s immigration adviser Tuariki Delamere has filed a complaint against the officers for discriminating over age, culture and religion in their decisions.

Mr Singh could take the matter to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal should his appeal to Immigration NZ fail. Mr Singh has filed a complaint, but faces deportation.

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