Youths with NZ work visa fear losing jobs, want to fly back - ECAS Punjab

Youths with NZ work visa fear losing jobs, want to fly back

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Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 6

Prabhjot Singh (26), who landed here in the first week of March from New Zealand to get married, is sitting idle these days. Unable to get any job here for the past two months, Prabhjot, who holds permanent work visa in New Zeland, wants to move back to the country. "Nobody is giving me work here and soon, my savings will be over," he rued.

Like him, there are many who had arrived here from various countries before the lockdown, and are now finding it difficult to make ends meet. While some are fearing losing their jobs there, some say their yearly work visas are expiring in a month or two. Prabhjot recently formed a group of such people, who are stuck here since the imposition of Covid lockdown. He said, "Even as special flights were arranged for PR holders and tourists from New Zealand, no such arrangement was made for people like me who have been working there from the past more than five years. There are over 1,000 Punjabis in the region who hold work visas of foreign nations but are stranded here. "

Grim scenario

I had gone to New Zealand in 2014 on a study visa and after five years I got a work visa. I have been working there as a chef for the last two years. Now I fear losing job. The long uncertainty has become stressful. —Amrit, chamkaur sahib village

Most of the stranded people are under 30 years of age and arrived at their hometowns either for marriage or to visit their ailing parents.

Amrit (26), who resides here in a village near Chamkaur Sahib, said: "I had gone there in 2014 on a study visa and after struggling for five years, I managed to get a work visa. I have been working there as a chef for the past two years and now I fear losing my job. The long period of uncertainty has become very stressful."

Similarly, Pawanpreet Singh, a resident of Jalandhar, who was working at a travel company in New Zealand, said: "Though we are jobless for the past four months, we are still paying for our expenses, including rent, insurances and loans there. The online immigration portal is declining our applications even as we are ready to pay our quarantine and flight tickets expenses. My work visa is expiring and I have no idea how I will renew it. Nobody is giving us work here".



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