If you and your family are planning to migrate it’s important to walk through all the possible eventualities.

There are no doubt lots of cases where people are enticed to stay in New Zealand but are let down at the bitter end, even having disclosed potential complications right at the start. Recently we encountered a case in point:

A man from the Philippines joined his wife and children here way back in 2009 and since his arrival Immigration had always granted the husband Partnership work visas. However this man had Hepatitis B and cirrhosis of the liver – a serious and costly medical condition.

He had told Immigration all about this by producing a medical certificate on his arrival, which rang alarm bells. Immigration miraculously granted medical waivers so as to allow him to reunite with his family. All seemed well.
Of course the natural course was for the young family to apply for Residence, which they did. This was off the back of the wife’s Work-to-Residence visa – she had a skilled, stable job with a good employer in the medical industry.

This is when things went pear-shaped: at a later stage the husband elected to withdraw himself from the application because he realised his health would not be good enough to get Residence. This allowed his wife and children to be approved Residence, but not him. A foreseeable split was opening up for the family.

He applied for another work visa to keep the family together but this time it was declined, for medical reasons. He immediately became visa-less and so made a request for a visa. That was refused.

The man’s final best option was to spend $700 and quickly appeal against the likelihood of being deported – INZ knew he had no visa. He had to make an “exceptional” case to win. It went a bit like this: my wife and children all have Residence; I have been in NZ for many years; I am managing my Hepatitis and we have sold everything back home.

The appeal was refused. I read the Tribunal’s decision and the judge decided it was a situation of their “own making”. But was it?

In many respects we felt the family had been led down a path of no return – Residence was always going to fail for this man. I wasn’t surprised with the Appeal outcome because the test is so high and with his bad health he will never get a visa, even to visit. The family might have to give up their life here and leave if they want to stay a family. Immigration was the one most at fault for constantly approving visas to stay on. A little forethought on its behalf could have saved him much trouble.

Medical cases can be complicated; if we had been approached in 2009 we could have issued a reality check. Perhaps this is another example of getting competent advice from the start, not when the chips are down and you’re an outcast.

So, remember this: Immigration is mainly interested in deciding visa applications, not whether they should be made at all. Think about the path you may be travelling down so you don’t get left high and dry.