Chang Sheng Zhao, 58, has been in New Zealand on a visitor visa since December 2019. She lives with her daughter Yuxi Ward, Clinical Team Leader in the Department of Corrections, and her family in Christchurch.
Zhao was initially granted a six-month visitor visa, which has been extended several times due to the pandemic. But her last visitor visa application was denied on November 11, as the INZ ruled that she did not meet the immigration requirements for a visa.
But following a request from the Herald about it, the agency reconsidered its decision and granted Zhao a three-month extension, allowing him to stay with his daughter and grandchildren over Christmas, New Zealand. Zealand and Chinese New Year.
Nicola Hogg, director general of border operations and visas, said the INZ was sensitive to the difficult situation in which Zhao and his family found themselves.
“INZ has now reconsidered our decision, taking into account the individual circumstances and all available information and has decided to grant Ms. Zhao an additional visitor visa as an exception to the instructions for a period of three months to allow for Ms. Zhao to make arrangements to return home, “Hogg said.
The move gives Zhao the option to stay until February 2022, as requested and discussed with his daughter Yuxi Ward.
Ward said Zhao no longer had a family in China, where she lived alone on the fifth floor of an old building with no elevator and had difficulty getting in and out of her house.
“Returning her to China would put her at increased risk to her health because of Covid-19, travel, the requirement to quarantine and the risk of exposure upon her return to China,” she said. declared.
“Combined with the fact that she will not be able to return to New Zealand until the borders reopen, this will have a significant negative impact on her well-being.”
Ward said the INZ previously attempted to deport his mother on December 2.
Ward said they had been trying to apply for a parent category visa since 2015, but the category closed before his expression of interest could even be selected.
Like Ward, her husband also works in the Department’s Corrections as a senior officer at Christchurch Men’s Prison.
“We both worked through the blockages as essential frontline workers, which we could not have done without my mother’s support to care for our two young children at home,” she declared.
“We work fixed hours, nights and weekends and we rely on her to provide family support to our children, as daycare centers do not support workers on weekends or at night.”
In October 2016, the government suspended the parent category from new applications due to very high demand for the limited number of places and as a review of the category was underway.
In October 2019, the government closed the parent category for new applications and announced that it would reopen in February 2020 with new criteria.
The selection of the first expressions of interest for the category was due to take place in May of last year, but that was postponed due to the pandemic.
“The government continues to assess when EOI selections can take place, but no decision has been made on this,” Hogg said.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for migrant group NZ United Voice, Jeet Suchdev, calls on the government to reopen borders for migrants stranded offshore.
“We have been approached formally and informally by hundreds of families asking for a fairer decision from the government,” he said.
Suchdev said thousands of migrant families were facing break-ups due to the government’s decision not to let those stranded abroad return.