Family call for help to stay in NZ
The owners of a Nelson cafe, who are facing a six-month deadline to leave New Zealand, are calling for help from the community to convince authorities they should stay.
Steve Wilson and Rachel Yerbury-Wilson emigrated to New Zealand from Scotland in 2011 to start a business and a family. Baby Lewis was born in Nelson and is 5 months old.
With guarantees from their immigration adviser that they would have New Zealand residency within two years of living here, they sold their home in Edinburgh and came to New Zealand on long-term business visas.
They set up their Buxton Square cafe, Pottering About, where customers design and paint pottery.
However, their adviser Glen Standing grossly misled them. He had his licence revoked soon after they moved to New Zealand after complaints from clients about him providing incorrect advice and charging excessive fees.
Mr Wilson said Mr Standing gave them a "100 per cent guarantee" on residency if they had the business operating for two years, promising to refund his fees in case of failure.
However, when their case was passed on to another immigration adviser, they were told their business needed to generate a profit within two years.
The Immigration Advisers Authority ruled that Mr Standing pay the couple back his fees and $8000 in damages, totalling $26,000. However, Mr Standing's business went into liquidation and they are yet to be repaid the money.
In November last year the couple applied for residency, but found out last week this had been denied on the grounds the business was not making enough profit and they did not meet the self-employed requirement.
Immigration New Zealand said they were not earning enough wages through the business.
They have six months left in New Zealand and plan to appeal the decision.
They are calling on Nelsonians to show support by signing a petition they will include in their appeal.
They also had baby Lewis to consider. He was a decision they made based on the guarantee of residency Mr Standing had promised.
They started the petition in their store on Tuesday. It had 70 signatures this morning, and many comments on Facebook.
The couple said they wanted to show Immigration New Zealand they had contributed to the community in many ways through their business.
"The crux is there is more value to Nelson in this business than the money it makes," Mr Wilson said. "We have been really involved in donating to school raffles, and have been involved in the Nelson community and the business community. We raised $1000 for the Cancer Society of Nelson.
"We hope they will be able to look beyond the monitoring of the business, the whole point of the appeal would be there's more to this than a profit."
They would include the petition in their appeal against the residency decision. The couple said they had been through a stressful few years with immigration issues, the business and the baby. Despite this, they thought Immigration New Zealand had been helpful.
They would be "immensely sad" if they had to leave New Zealand.
"It needs to come to a conclusion. We have been doing this for five years, it's too hard. We don't want to keep having to write letters to prove why we are worthy of staying," said Ms Yerbury-Wilson.
Nelson was the family's new home and they had good friends here, many of them customers at the cafe.
Mr Wilson said if they had known upfront about what was required under the long-term business visa, they would not have entered New Zealand on it.
A spokesperson for Immigration New Zealand said the purpose of the long-term business visa was to attract migrants who had been operating their own business and wished to establish a similar business in New Zealand, contributing to the country's economic development.
It was a three-year temporary visa, but holders who managed their businesses successfully for a minimum of two years could apply for residence through the entrepreneur category.
"As the principal applicant, Rachel Yerbury-Wilson was granted a LTBV on 3 March 2011 to establish a new pottery cafe business.
"The residence application by Ms Yerbury-Wilson and her husband was declined last week after careful consideration by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) as they were unable to demonstrate that their business was generating sufficient income to support them and their family.
"INZ was very understanding of the situation the couple faced in their dealings with their immigration adviser and agreed to waive the fee for their residence application.
"Both Ms Yerbury-Wilson and Mr Wilson have been granted work visas valid to 3 September 2014."
- The Nelson Mail