Dad fights to get his fam­ily home

Kiwi man des­per­ate to bring his son and part­ner here from Philip­pines.

Herald on Sunday - - THIS WEEK - By Lin­coln Tan

As Fa­ther’s Day looms, one Kiwi dad is ap­peal­ing for Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand to have a heart. For two years, Stephen Ra­zos, 45, a busi­ness owner from Hast­ings, has been fight­ing to get a visa for his Filip­ina part­ner and son to visit.

Al­though the cou­ple have been to­gether on and off for four years, the agency doesn’t be­lieve his re­la­tion­ship with Krys­tel Ga­los, 26, is gen­uine.

The cou­ple met four years ago when Ra­zos was on hol­i­day in the Philip­pines, and have a son, Johnny Kieren, who is turn­ing 2 in De­cem­ber.

“It is ab­surd for Im­mi­gra­tion to say our re­la­tion­ship isn’t real, the only rea­son we’re apart is be­cause of them,” Ra­zos said. “All we want is to be re­united as a fam­ily.” As­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Im­mi­gra­tion Scott Simp­son said ear­lier this week that he was not pre­pared to in­ter­vene in this case.

Ra­zos pre­vi­ously spon­sored Ga­los, who was in New Zealand for about 16 months from May 2014, first on a vis­i­tor visa and then a work visa.

But when the cou­ple broke up, Ga­los re­turned to the Philip­pines. How­ever the pair re­sumed their re­la­tion­ship long-dis­tance when Ga­los re­alised she was preg­nant.

Ga­los had in­tended to come back to New Zealand to give birth, but was told be­fore board­ing her re­turn flight her work visa had been can­celled.

Af­ter the baby was born in the Philip­pines, a DNA test was done and the re­sults sub­mit­ted to the Im­mi­gra­tion de­part­ment as ev­i­dence to sup­port their ap­pli­ca­tion.

When it was again de­clined, Ra­zos wrote to the Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter and lodged a com­plaint against INZ.

Since then, they had en­gaged a lawyer and made fur­ther sub­mis­sions — all with­out suc­cess.

Ra­zos, who has a 9-year-old son from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship, said it was his dream for his boys to meet.

“My love for Krys­tel has never stopped, and I’m feel­ing the low­est af­ter learn­ing that INZ would not grant them visas, and they have no right of ap­peal.” He was now pin­ning his hopes on the agency hav­ing some com­pas­sion for their sit­u­a­tion.

“We are not per­fect and in hind­sight we have made some mi­nor mis­takes, but we have been open and hon­est with our sub­mis­sions,” he said.

“Shouldn’t ev­ery cou­ple be given a sec­ond chance, es­pe­cially when two par­ents choose to be to­gether?” Mov­ing to the Philip­pines was not an op­tion be­cause of Ra­zos’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to his other son and in run­ning his busi­ness.

INZ area man­ager Mar­celle Fo­ley told the Her­ald on Sun­day the vis­i­tor visa ap­pli­ca­tions were de­clined “be­cause of con­cerns the re­la­tion­ship is not gen­uine and cred­i­ble”.

Fo­ley said a man­ager who re­viewed the ap­pli­ca­tion and ev­i­dence found no ev­i­dence of any pro­cess­ing or ser­vice fail­ures.

“INZ ac­knowl­edges that the vis­i­tor visa ap­pli­ca­tion took longer to process than normal, but Mr Ra­zos and his lawyer were kept in­formed about the sit­u­a­tion,” Fo­ley added.

Stephen Ra­zos and Krys­tel Ga­los with their son, Johnny Kieren Ga­los.

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