New Zealand beat back the coronavirus, but families were left divided and migrant workers stranded
But the victory against the virus came at a cost, and Joaquin is among those paying it.
His wife and two toddlers are stuck in the Philippines, where the family is from. They are among an estimated 10,000 foreign workers and family members of citizens and permanent residents who were blocked from returning to New Zealand when the country closed its borders. It’s now extremely difficult for anyone but a New Zealand citizen — and a few select foreigners — to get into the country, despite the government’s pledges to assist families locked out.
Jeus “has lost lots of milestones with his son,” 35-year-old Kristine Joaquin, a nurse like her husband, said by phone from Manila. She has a visa but said New Zealand immigration services have nine times denied her applications for a travel exemption.