A domestic violence victim says she has mental trauma after her work visa was cancelled by Immigration New Zealand while she was overseas.

The woman, who was nearly eight months pregnant at the time, was stopped from boarding a connecting flight to Auckland after her husband told INZ their relationship was over.

INZ operations support manager Michael Carley acknowledged its actions had caused her "considerable inconvenience and distress" and has apologised unreservedly.

Kyra (not her real name) first came to New Zealand from India two years ago on a visitor's visa.


She acquired a partnership work visa on the basis of her relationship with a New Zealand permanent resident - whom she had married in India a year earlier.

Kyra said her husband and his family members started abusing her soon after she arrived in Auckland, which escalated when they found out she was pregnant with a baby girl.

"When they knew I was having a baby girl and not a boy in my womb, they stopped giving me food and made my life hell by torturing and beating me every day," she said.

"(My husband) beat me a lot and even tried to kill our baby."

There is a preference for male children among Indian families, and female feticide is practised on a massive scale in India.

Against her wish, Kyra's husband took her to India last year when she was seven months pregnant.

"He dropped my off at the airport where my parents came and took me," she said.

"Then he demanded $200,000 from my family and said only then would I be allowed to return to NZ."


She bought a ticket to return to New Zealand two weeks later, but was stopped in Hong Kong from boarding a connecting flight to Auckland.

"I had lots of pain in my stomach, and was suffering from fatigue and all sorts of emotions," Kyra said.

"I ran from post to pillar to seek help...I felt so helpless."

Carley said her partner advised INZ that their relationship had finished while she was offshore in December 2017.

"INZ then cancelled her work visa on that basis," he said.

"It appears that we did not contact her to tell her that her work visa had been cancelled.

"This clearly caused her considerable inconvenience and distress when she tried to return to New Zealand, and we apologise unreservedly for this."

Carley said an application for a visitor's visa by the woman was also declined.

"In her application letter, she made clear that she wished to come to New Zealand to raise her daughter here," he said.

"Immigration instructions do not allow us to grant a visitor visa to someone under these circumstances."

Carley said her best course of action at this point would be to speak to a licensed immigration adviser or lawyer to discuss her options.

"We are very sorry to learn of her situation," he said.

"However, we have no record of her approaching INZ under the Victims of Domestic Violence Policy while she was here, and we were not aware of her circumstances."

Support worker Jeet Suchdev, who is helping the woman, said she wanted to return to New Zealand for the sake of her daughter.

"She wants to pursue legal avenues to ensure her husband pays child support to give their daughter a decent upbringing, and that can only happen if she is allowed back in New Zealand," Suchdev said.

Suchdev, who is the chairman of the Bhartiya Samaj Charity Trust, said there has been a significant rise in the number of South Asian women seeking help for problems arising from immigration and arranged marriages.