A woman separated from her daughter and husband for three years says she's been offered a glimmer of hope by a new visa policy allowing migrant families into New Zealand.
Raj left India three years ago for New Zealand. She works in a Wellington café as a chef, and has a nine-year-old daughter back in India.
She has not seen her daughter since she was five years old.
"It's really hard because my daughter is missing me," she told the Herald.
"When I call her, she just misses me and is unhappy. It's really hard without my husband and my daughter...in front of her I never show her how I'm sad, I always try to make myself happy."
But on Wednesday she was offered a fraction of hope – Immigration minister Kris Faafoi announced a one-off residence pathway visa for the roughly 165,000 migrant workers and their families stranded here through the pandemic.
"It gave me a little bit of hope, maybe they can join me in the future."
Faafoi said on Wednesday the application process will be streamlined and a majority of applications would be granted within a year of the category opening.
"The 2021 Resident Visa will also help us attract and retain the skills that our businesses need to help relieve labour pressures caused by Covid-19."
Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa will open in two phases; on December 1, 2021, and March 1, 2022.
Immigration New Zealand will contact visa holders who are eligible to apply.
Raj says she has heard from Immigration, and will be applying as soon as she can.
"It's hope for me [that]...we are eligible to apply. We can fill the requirements and we can apply."