Wellington: The Immigration New Zealand has reportedly declined Indian man Balwinder Singh, aged 22, a visa to stay in the country with his wedded wife, a New Zealander, Glyn Kessell, who is aged 59.
The immigration authorities cited the age gap as one of the reasons to deny Singh the visa, a move which he labels as ` ageist` and ` racist `, the New Zealand Herald reports.
According to the report, Singh had come to New Zealand as an international student and had applied for a work visa under the partnership category after his marriage, but this was declined.
Singh claims that he is `madly, passionately and deeply` in love with his wife, whom he met at a hair salon in Glenfield last year and after three weeks of courtship, they married two months later.
However, the authorities have difficulty in believing Singh`s claims and in their letter to Singh denying the visa requests, they said that noting the religious and cultural differences between him and his wife, they are not convinced that if the relationship is likely to endure.
Singh, defying himself, said that he could have gone with any younger Kiwi girls, but he chose Kessell because he loved her and the age is just a number, adding that it is also wrong to question the cultural difference, because if he wanted to be fully Indian, he would have remained in India.
Meanwhile, Kessell, who has a son aged 37 years, said that she doesn`t care about her in-laws being younger to her, adding that she is 21 in her mind and it is not about age but about who she likes.
The report said that Kessell further denied that Singh entered the relationship to obtain residency.
Immigration NZ area manager Michael Carley said that the couple had an uncommonly short three-month courtship and their home appeared to be akin to a boarding situation.
The couple`s immigration adviser, Tuariki Delamere, has filed a complaint against the officers for discriminating over age, culture and religion in their decisions.
Singh could take the matter to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal if the Immigration NZ denies the application.
However, he might be deported if the tribunal also rejects his request, the report added.