One Kiwi Indian husband is worried about his wife's mental state and another couple makes it a point to watch the same movies at the same time despite being 12,000km apart as a way to cope with their desperation over Immigration NZ's partnership visa delays.
Thousands of temporary partnership applications remain in the queue to be processed, and many still have not been allocated to an immigration officer.
Rishikesh Gudimalla, whose wife Anweshana Aravind Chatla has been waiting since March 5 for a decision on her visa application, said his wife was now suffering from "horrible depression and pain".
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Gudimalla, an auto mechanic at Toyota Auckland, said he was worried about Chatla's mental state and the effect the delays had on him and other members of the family.
"My mother-in-law was hospitalised because of depression, and my wife has lost her ability to be normal," he said.
"I can't work, I'm broken ... I deal with cars as a mechanic and need to be very careful when I work but the ongoing situation is making it hard."
Praveen Rashinka, who married his wife Malvika Manohar in September last year, has been waiting for nearly half a year for a response from INZ.
"We try our max to be on video calls and try to support each other," he said.
"On the phone, we keep ourselves on video call and watch the same movies on our laptops together. It might sound silly, but one can only feel this when their partner is so far apart."
Rashinka said it's been eight months since he last saw Manohar.
"She wakes up in the middle of the night and messages me 'please visit me soon' or 'in four months, it's our first anniversary', it breaks my heart," he said.
"On weekends, we'd turn on the lights the entire night to sleep just to have the thought that we are nearby and can see each other."
Rashinka was worried that the partnership visa would not be approved also because theirs was a culturally arranged marriage, and would not have met the minimum 12-months living together requirement.
INZ operations support manager Michael Carley said Chatla's application was allocated to an immigration officer on September 24 and is currently being processed.
"INZ is currently prioritising processing partnership applications for partners of New Zealand citizens and residents and we are committed to processing all visa applications as quickly as possible," he said.
"However, it is important that INZ takes the time necessary to carefully consider all visa applications against the relevant immigration instructions."
Carley said Manohar's application was being affected by delays in visa processing times.
"INZ has apologised to her for the uncertainty this is causing."
Carley said INZ had processes which took culturally arranged marriages into account and did not accept any assertion that it lacked understanding of them.
"However, immigration officers must consider applications against the rules and criteria set out in immigration instructions," Carley said.
As of September 23, there were 661 partnership visa and nine cultural marriage entry visa applications lodged in Mumbai. A further 473 partnership and 15 entry visas for cultural marriage were received in Hamilton.
The agency had more than 8000 temporary partnership applications across all its offices as of the beginning of September, with more than 3000 being for partners of workers. It was also dealing with a further 6000 partnership residence applications.
High application volumes and the closure of offshore processing offices have led to massive delays in partnership visa processing.
To address the delays, INZ has increased the number of staff in Mumbai by 20 and turned its Hamilton office into the partnership visa processing hub, with staffing increased to 130.