New Zealand's victory against Covid-19 has come at a high cost for the families that now find themselves separated by the country's strict border restrictions.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Jeus Joaquin explained how he helped the country beat the virus, as an emergency department nurse in Thames Hospital, but has paid a high cost as he remains separated from his family.

Joaquin's wife and two toddlers are stuck in the Philippines, where the family is from.

The family are among an estimated 10,000 foreign workers and family members of citizens and permanent residents who have been blocked from entering the country in the past few weeks.


The Government has since pledged to do more to help families locked out of New Zealand.

Some things, however, are lost forever.

Kristine Joaquin, who is a nurse like her husband, told the Washington Post from the Philippines that Jeus "has lost lots of milestones with his son".

She says she has a visa but New Zealand immigration services have denied her applications for a travel exemption nine times so far.

"I feel like New Zealand now has an iron curtain," Wendy Harnett, 54, a New Zealand citizen whose husband is from Japan and has been trying to enter the country since March also told the Washington Post.

"We did the lockdown. And, yes, we eliminated the virus. But no one thought about what next," she added. "Well, you eliminate the virus and then you have a whole other set of problems."

There are many stories of migrants in this situation.

The Herald has also reported on the story of Carolina Zalazar and her daughter, Martina, who live in Greenlane, Auckland, but found themselves trapped in Bali and unable to re-enter the country they call home.

Carolina Zalazar and her daughter, Martina. Photo / Supplied
Carolina Zalazar and her daughter, Martina. Photo / Supplied

A group of 30 migrants, who have resided in New Zealand for periods ranging from months to years, have recently made a video, pleading with the Government to let them return to their homes in New Zealand.

They also wrote an open letter pleading with the Government to let their families come home.

The Government has so far allowed special exemptions for the crew working on the sequel to "Avatar" to enter New Zealand, along with their families.

The American and British America's Cup sailing teams have also been allowed in, as have their families, including a nanny, according to the Washington Post — some 300 people in total.

Earlier this month, the Government announced a sweep of immigration changes to ease restrictions on families locked out of New Zealand.

The requirement for partners and dependants of New Zealand citizens and residents to travel together to return home has been removed.


And the Government has announced it will introduce short-term and long-term criteria for Other Essential Workers requests.

Subscribe to Premium