A domestic violence victim whose work visa was cancelled by Immigration New Zealand while she was eight months pregnant and overseas has been granted a residence visa to return.
The woman, an Indian national, named only as Kyra, was stopped from boarding a connecting flight to Auckland in January last year after her husband told INZ their relationship was over.
INZ visa services manager Michael Carley has confirmed that the 26-year-old mother has now been granted a resident visa "as an exception to instructions", and can return to live in New Zealand with her now nearly 2-year-old daughter.
"The decision was made by a delegated decision maker who has the ability to grant residence as an exception to instructions in their absolute discretion," Carley said.
"Decision makers are not required to provide reasons when making absolute discretion decisions."
Last September, Carley apologised unreservedly after acknowledging that the agency's failure to inform Kyra that her visa had been cancelled caused her "considerable inconvenience and distress".
He said at the time that her visa was cancelled after her partner advised INZ that their relationship had finished while she was offshore in December 2017.
Kyra first arrived in NZ in 2016 from India on a visitor's visa and then acquired a partnership work visa on the basis of her relationship with a New Zealand permanent resident whom she married in India a year earlier.
She claimed her husband and his family members started abusing her as soon as she arrived in Auckland, and the abuse got worse after they found out she was pregnant with a baby girl.
Many Indian families have a preference for boys, whom are regarded as an investment while girls are seen as a liability.
Kyra told the Herald in an interview last year that her husband would beat her and "tried to kill" their baby.
When she was seven months pregnant she was taken back to India against her wishes by her husband, who just left her at the airport.
The husband told Kyra's family she would only be allowed to return to NZ if they paid him $200,000.
She bought a ticket to return to NZ two weeks later, but was stopped in Hong Kong from boarding a connecting flight to Auckland.
Social worker Jeet Suchdev, who is helping Kyra, said they have been in contact and that she will be returning to Auckland "as soon as the paperwork is done".
"This is great news for her and also for all of us who have been supporting her," he said.
Suchdev, who is chairman of the Bhartiya Samaj Charity Trust, said Kyra intended to meet with police and also pursue legal avenues to ensure she got child support from her baby's father.
"She wants to fight for what her legal rights are, but she is doing this so that her daughter will be able to get a decent upbringing," he said.
"We as an organisation will support her in whatever way we can, and also do everything we can to try and keep her safe."
Suchdev said safety for Kyra is paramount when she returns because he was aware of ongoing threats against her and her daughter.