Indian immigrant reunited with wife, son, after 23 years

March 28th, 2009 - 8:58 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, March 28 (DPA) An illegal Indian immigrant in New Zealand for the last 23 years has been reunited with his wife and son after finally getting permission to stay, a newspaper reported Saturday.
“I thought I would be going to my grave without ever seeing them again,” Abdul Jalil Patel, 58, told the New Zealand Herald as his wife Amina, 55, and son Salman, 24, flew into Auckland airport Friday.

Patel emigrated to New Zealand in 1986 but his first immigration consultant misplaced his passport and failed to submit his residency application, making him an illegal alien.

A string of immigration blunders followed and he worked illegally over the years. “I didn’t know I was breaking the law, I just knew I had to earn some money to survive,” he told the paper.

A new consultant made a last-ditch appeal to the Immigration Minister in September and he was granted permanent residence, which allowed his wife and son to join him.

“I grew up without a father, and never thought I would ever get to see him,” Salman said. “But today is truly a blessing for our family, and we are really so happy to be a complete family again.”

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