A Fijian-Indian woman who was the victim of domestic violence has won her battle to stay in New Zealand.
Nazima Khatun faced deportation late last year after leaving her husband, who had been convicted and discharged for assaulting her.
She arrived in New Zealand under her estranged husband's visa and effectively became an illegal immigrant the minute she walked out the door.
Immigration New Zealand initially turned down her application for a work visa because the job she applied for could be done by a Kiwi.
However, now employed by Hawera Rape Crisis (HRC), the organisation that helped her, she works with women in a similar position to help cut through language and cultural barriers.
In December, Ms Khatun said the war against domestic violence was being sabotaged by outdated and unfair immigration laws, but yesterday she was the picture of positivity.
"I'm just so happy," she said.
Ms Khatun said when her passport arrived she struggled to open it and only managed to read the first two lines before the excitement became too much.
"I cannot explain how happy I was. There isn't any word."
As long as she fits the criteria, Ms Khatun could also apply for residency in the future.
HRC manager Pam Bassett, who has worked with South Taranaki families for 13 years, said Ms Khatun's story had inspired them all.
"Nazima's strength was outstanding," she said.
Ms Bassett said the Government had shown, with a little help, that it was beginning to support the fight against domestic violence on all fronts.
However, there were still barriers that needed to be knocked down, including New Zealanders' own perceptions of what these women plan to do here, she said.
"They think women are going to stay here, they are going to go to Work and Income and go on a benefit," Ms Bassett said.
"They can't and aren't entitled to any services like that in New Zealand and all they want to do is have a work visa so they can support themselves and their family."
Ms Khatun had a simple message for women in a similar situation to her.
"Stay strong, there is hope. Stay strong."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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