Cou­ple torn apart

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Front Page - SAM KILMISTER

‘‘I want to be happy.’’ Amy Smith

A cou­ple could be torn apart six months after their wed­ding day be­cause of­fi­cials say their love is a scam.

David and Amy Smith, from Feild­ing, mar­ried in Fe­bru­ary, but Amy faces de­por­ta­tion as they are not con­sid­ered of­fi­cial part­ners un­der New Zealand law.

Orig­i­nally from Hong Kong, Amy moved to New Zealand last year.

The cou­ple bought a home to­gether in De­cem­ber, but for Amy to gain a visa she must have lived with David for 12 months.

Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand also be­lieves Amy’s di­a­betes will be a bur­den on the coun­try’s health sys­tem.

She was granted an in­terim visa while await­ing a de­ci­sion on a work visa. How­ever, that has ex­pired and a let­ter from se­nior im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer Kate Dower says she is now ‘‘un­law­fully’’ in New Zealand and ‘‘li­able for de­por­ta­tion’’.

In the let­ter, Dower says she was not sat­is­fied the Smiths were liv­ing to­gether in a ‘‘gen­uine’’ and ‘‘sta­ble’’ part­ner­ship.

‘‘Although you and your partner are mar­ried, own prop­erty to­gether and ap­pear to have in­cor­po­rated each other into their wills, the in­for­ma­tion avail­able does not sat­isfy us that your re­la­tion­ship is gen­uine.’’

Although Dower ac­knowl­edged the cou­ple had joint prop­erty own­er­ship, shared a res­i­dence and had fi­nan­cial in­ter­de­pen­dence, she said there was no ev­i­dence any pur­chases had been a joint de­ci­sion.

Im­mi­gra­tion NZ area man­ager Mar­celle Fo­ley said Smith needed to make the ‘‘ap­pro­pri­ate ar­range­ments’’ to leave the coun­try. But, a de­por­ta­tion li­a­bil­ity no­tice had not been served, she said.

The cou­ple met on Face­book 18 months ago and Amy de­cided to move to New Zealand in De­cem­ber, with the hope of a bet­ter fu­ture.

She was tired of work­ing 12-hour shifts seven days a week in a Hong Kong hospi­tal and worked as a health care as­sis­tant in Feild­ing be­fore her in­terim visa ex­pired.

David said he didn’t want to be­come a ‘‘Skype fam­ily’’ who re­sorted to in­ter­net video calls as their only mode of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

‘‘When I saw her at the air­port, she wrapped her arms around me, gave me the big­gest hug and said ‘I love you too’.

After buy­ing a home to­gether, money was tight and they needed Amy to go back to work.

PHOTO: WARWICK SMITH/STUFF

Amy Smith faces de­por­ta­tion as her mar­riage to David doesn’t pass im­mi­gra­tion rules.

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