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Immigration Minister on visa story

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Immigration

8 June 2009
Media Statement

Immigration Minister puts record straight on visa story

Minister of Immigration, Dr Jonathan Coleman, is very concerned by the inaccuracies currently circulating in the public domain regarding pregnant Korean woman Sung Won Kim.

“It has been reported that Sung Won Kim is in New Zealand on a student visa. That in fact is not the case. Sung Won Kim and her partner entered New Zealand and were granted visitors' permits in March. She applied in April for a student permit which was declined because she was pregnant.

“It is also simply not true that if a woman who is already studying in New Zealand on a student permit becomes pregnant they are automatically required to leave the country. Each case would have to be considered on its own circumstances.

“Under New Zealand immigration policy, student permits are not granted to pregnant women as it places extra strain on the health system, both in terms of money and resources available to New Zealanders. Also, the express purpose of a student permit is to enable study.

“It does not matter whether the applicant is prepared to pay for services, New Zealand simply does not have the healthcare resources to offer maternity services to visitors.

“Immigration policy is a delicate balancing act. Export education is a key industry for New Zealand and we want to make sure we have the right immigration policies to enable study in New Zealand. However it is unrealistic to expect student permits to be granted to pregnant women.”

ENDS

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