A Brazilian couple who moved to New Zealand to start afresh have been caught in bureaucratic limbo because of an unplanned pregnancy.
Marcio Tulio de Moura, 35, and his wife, Barbara Ohana de Sena Vieira, 26, applied for new temporary work visas this year but their applications were held up when a medical exam showed Barbara was pregnant.
She is five months' pregnant and Immigration New Zealand says she does not meet the health requirements for a permit.
Mr Moura is eligible to apply for residency as a skilled migrant and can include his partner and their daughter, Ana, 4, but only if new work permits are granted.
Since arriving in May 2007, her husband has worked for two years as a stonemason in Queenstown and Ms Vieira worked in a town centre supermarket.
Their applications were held up in June so the couple have been unable to work for almost 10 weeks.
Ms Vieira said she briefly considered an abortion – which is illegal in Brazil – but the couple want another child and decided against termination.
"We can't work and we're out of money," she said.
Mr Moura said the bureaucratic limbo was stressful.
"They say they want skilled people. We sold our house just because we wanted a peaceful place," he said.
Immigration NZ manager of operations Simon Smith said a decision on the couple's applications was pending.
The department understood their uncertainty at a difficult time but circumstances had to be assessed before any decision, he said.
Immigration asked for a response in June from Ms Vieira regarding her pregnancy but this information was not provided until Friday.
"(A) decision is likely to be made on Mr Moura's case before the end of this week.
"Subsequent decisions on Miss Vieira's and her daughter's application will then be made," he said.
Staff in Queenstown explained to the couple that information provided last week was under consideration, he said.
Says applicants who intend to give birth in New Zealand are not considered to have an acceptable standard of health for work permits.
Because mothers-to-be must take time off work and "impose significant costs or demands on health services".
Source: Immigration NZ.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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