Immigration criteria must change

February 12, 2019

Nelson firefighter, Steve Webster,  and his family are facing deportation:

An online petition is pushing for a firefighter fighting the Nelson blaze to be spared deportation.

The petition ‘Stop the Deportation of Steve Webster from NZ’ was set up on Change.org yesterday by friend and former volunteer firefighter Ken Mahon.

Mahon said he began the online petition at 3pm yesterday – without telling Webster – after he saw new social media photo of Webster all dirty from fighting the Tasman fires and decided he had to do something. . . 

Steve and Gail Webster moved to Nelson from the United Kingdom in 2012 with their two teenage daughters.

As well as being a volunteer firefighter, the couple own Earthbloom Flower Shop in Nelson and Steve is a car salesman.

In 2016 the Nelson Weekly reported the family had their bid for permanent residency turned down in early April that year. They were told they had to be out of the country by midnight on Friday May 20.

Just 48 hours before that deadline, Steve received an email at midnight on Wednesday saying they had been given a 12-month essential skills work visa, Nelson Weekly reported.

However, Mahon said the family had again landed themselves in a fight against immigration after they had been given until June this year to leave the country.

“They have worked very hard at getting their business up and running but unfortunately it hasn’t met the requirements by immigration in the timeframe,” he said.

“It is a bit rough really. They give a lot to the community, have a lot of support out there, and are well liked.

“It is just not fair. Why does this always happen to the good people in life?”

Aucklanders have rallied to support another business person facing deportation:

The community is fighting to save the family of seven from being sent overseas. Credits: Newshub.

Hundreds of people have rallied in Auckland on Sunday in support of a Ukrainian family facing deportation.

Nataliya Shchetkova and her family thought New Zealand would be their home forever.

After they arrived here six years ago, they bought La Vista, a popular restaurant in Auckland’s St Helier. They now employ 17 full-time staff – up from nine when they bought it.

But Immigration NZ says the business does not add enough benefit to New Zealand by creating sustained and on-going employment over and above the existing level of employment.

The family of seven have been denied residency and told they should start planning to leave by July 1 – including selling their restaurant if necessary. . . 

She has almost doubled the staff employed and that’s still not enough?

These two cases are particularly troubling when only after political and public pressure did Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway reverse his decision to give residency to a convicted criminal.

If immigration criteria doesn’t allow families like the Websters and Shchetkovas who are making positive contributions in business and the community to stay then the criteria is wrong and must change.

 


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