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British Mother And Children Forced to Be Overstayers

MEDIA RELEASE
THURSDAY 12TH JUNE 2014

British Mother And Children Forced to Be Overstayers Due to ‘Tug-O-War’ Between the Immigration Department And the Family Court System

A British Mother with two British Children finds herself stuck in ‘Limbo’ due to a ruling by the Family Courts in Christchurch.

Rachel Carter, a 36 year old British Mother, came to New Zealand in 2011, after a Christchurch Family Court Judge ruled that her two British Children were ‘habitually resident” after being in the country for 44 days to visit their British Father, who had only himself entered New Zealand six months prior.

Last week the same Judge ruled that Mrs Carter was not allowed to take the two British children out of New Zealand in the future. However, all of their Visas expire in less than a week (16th June 2014).

Mrs Carter has spoken with the Office of Hon Nikki Kaye, The Deputy Minister of Immigration. She said “I have been told that if I apply for any further visas it will be a short term solution, not a long term one. Why would I want my children to stay in a foreign country without their mother with them for the foreseeable future?”

Legally in New Zealand for a child to be granted residency, or any New Zealand visas, the department of Immigration must have consent from both parents. Mrs Carter has withheld all consent. However, she now feels that she may now be forced into giving her permission. She said ”I feel like I am being backed into a corner. The Family Court is stopping me taking my children back to the UK and Immigration will deport us. No-one can tell me which department takes precedence. It’s ludicrous. I have 50/50 shared care of our children”

Mrs Carter’s six year old daughter is not allowed to attend school from next week, when her student visa expires. Kym Wells, The Principal at Ohoka School where the six year old attends said “Whilst we understand that this a distressing time, we have to follow Ministry of Education Guidelines and we have been informed by them that as soon as the student visa expires she is no longer eligible to remain in School”. Adele Anderson, a supervisor at Tuahiwi Pre School where Mrs Carters’ 4 year old son attends said “We have never come across a situation like this before, we are not sure if the child can attend next week.”

Friends and relatives of Mrs Carter have stated that they are horrified that the three year on-going saga has finally come to head like this. Mrs Carter’s Mother, Ann Reece said from the UK “This is so distressing for our family. My only daughter is being forced to be homeless, not able to work and not one person in government is willing to help, here or in New Zealand. She has tried for three years to get these children home but has had every door slammed in her face. I am beside myself with worry’.

Mrs Carter has also been told By the Deputy Minister of Immigrations office that due to a back log, it could take up to 42 days before her case for deportation is looked at. During that time she will be unable to work due to the expiry of her Work Visa. She said ”I have been told that I can put an application of Residence to the Minister, but that will take up to three months, maybe more, and there is still no guarantee that it will be accepted. If I allow further visas for my children and then I am denied one that would not be right. A child should and must have both parents in their life, for life, and the only way for this to happen is to allow us all to go home. How can two British Children be kept in a country that they don’t have, nor will have Visa’s for. By forcing them to stay here they are also denying them an education, something that every child should be entitled to. The children’s British Father can choose to be the separated parent; I however do not have that luxury. I just want to take my British Children Home”.

Mrs Carter also added “I am devastated that me and my children are in this situation. Surely it’s easy for someone, anyone to intervene. I feel failed by both the British government and the New Zealand Government. These people are put in power and surely have a duty to help and protect us. Our visas run out on Tuesday, the logical solution is to allow us to go home”.


Link to story as featured on Radio NZ National: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/247102/mother's-deportation-deadline-looms

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