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