Immigration New Zealand is refusing to budge on its order to deport a Balclutha woman to Fiji.
Firoza Begum, 57, moved to the South Otago town after her husband, Mohammed Kalim, 63, took up work in 2007 as a halal butcher at the Finegand processing plant.
Begum worked at New World Balclutha until 2016, when she had a severe stroke that left her in a wheelchair.
Despite the stroke, Kalim said the couple’s working visas continued to be renewed until 2018.
Only Kalim’s visa was approved this year.
He thought INZ mislaid his wife’s annual working visa application and by the time it emerged in March this year, she had become an unintentional overstayer, which led to an order to deport her.
INZ operations support manager Michael Carley said correspondence with Begum and her family indicated they intended to return to Fiji in September, and INZ did not intend to undertake ”any compliance action” at this time.
However, he confirmed Begum was unlawfully in New Zealand and under an obligation to leave the country.
He said her work visa application, made in 2018, was declined on health grounds earlier this year.
”It was found she did not have an acceptable standard of health and was likely to impose significant costs on New Zealand’s health system.
”After she was provided with the opportunity to comment and provide further information, consideration of her case found she didn’t meet the criteria to be granted a medical waiver, nor were there sufficient reasons to grant her an exception.”
Carley said the 2018 visa application was delayed because it was incorrectly filed with her husband’s application.
”INZ apologised for the oversight and ensured the application was processed as promptly as possible.
”While this application was being processed, Mrs Begum was automatically granted a six-month interim visa to maintain her lawful status in New Zealand while her work visa application was being considered.
”During this period, the applicant’s interim visa expired on January 21, 2019, which led to the applicant becoming unlawful.”
When asked what recourse she had to resolve the issue and allow her to stay in Balclutha, Carley said those unlawfully in New Zealand had no legal right to apply for another visa, and INZ was not obliged to consider any request for a further visa.
Kalim said he was angry and disappointed.
He said they could have left the country before the visas ran out, to avoid becoming an overstayer, but they did not because they believed Mrs Begum’s application would be approved.
Their only hope now was there would not be a ”black mark” against Begum’s name, which would prevent her from visiting family in New Zealand when her health improved.
The couple would return to Fiji on Saturday, and hoped family members there would accommodate them in the interim.
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