Fam­ily frus­trated over visa re­fusal

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - SI­MON HENDERY

Steve Ra­zos has spent two years ‘‘on a knife-edge’’, bat­tling to unite his fam­ily af­ter im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials re­fused his Filipino fi­ancee a visa to bring the cou­ple’s young son to New Zealand.

Im­mi­gra­tion NZ says it is con­cerned about a ‘‘his­tory of in­sta­bil­ity’’ in the cou­ple’s re­la­tion­ship but Ra­zos, a Hawke’s Bay busi­ness­man, says the fam­ily sim­ply want to set­tle down to­gether.

Ra­zos, 45, and fi­ancee Krys­tel Ga­los, 26, met four years ago and lived to­gether in New Zealand when she held a work visa.

But since she re­turned to the Philip­pines in 2015, INZ has re­fused her ap­pli­ca­tions to come back to New Zealand, say­ing the cou­ple be­lat­edly ad­mit­ted they sep­a­rated that year, with Ga­los re­main­ing here for sev­eral months in breach of her visa con­di­tions.

INZ also said it was con­cerned about the ‘‘risk of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence’’ in the re­la­tion­ship and ‘‘po­ten­tial neg­a­tive ef­fects’’ on the cou­ple’s 20-month-old son Kieran be­cause of a his­tory of po­lice be­ing called to do­mes­tic dis­putes be­tween the pair when they were last in the coun­try to­gether.

But Ra­zos said the cou­ple were com­mit­ted to build­ing a life to­gether, and ‘‘fam­ily should come first re­gard­less of in­signif­i­cant in­ci­dents in the past’’.

Ga­los was ap­ply­ing for a vis­i­tor’s per­mit, not res­i­dency, and last week As­so­ciate Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Scott Simp­son told her he would not in­ter­vene in INZ’s de­ci­sion to de­cline the ap­pli­ca­tion.

‘‘We are not per­fect and, in hind­sight, we have made some mi­nor mis­takes,’’ Ra­zos said.

‘‘We were open and hon­est with our sub­mis­sions to INZ and the min­is­ter’s of­fice, but we have been stuffed around by ev­ery­one con­cerned and ab­so­lutely no­body has re­ally helped us to achieve what we set out to achieve – to be a fam­ily.’’

While Ga­los made do­mes­tic vi­o­lence com­plaints against Ra­zos to po­lice in 2015, she said the com­plaints, and the cou­ple’s brief break-up, were the re­sult of hor­mone is­sues re­lated to her pregnancy.

They wanted ‘‘an­other op­por­tu­nity and sec­ond chance’’ to build a life to­gether in new Zealand.

‘‘There is no doubt in our minds things are very dif­fer­ent now and we will get things right this time.’’

In its June de­ci­sion de­clin­ing her vis­i­tor visa ap­pli­ca­tion, INZ said it had con­sid­ered the best in­ter­ests of the cou­ple’s son and also took into ac­count that Ra­zos could travel to the Philip­pines to be with Kieran and Ga­los.

Ra­zos said the cou­ple had been ex­as­per­ated by ‘‘con­stant de­lays’’ in pro­cess­ing Ga­los’ ap­pli­ca­tions. An INZ spokesman said ‘‘process fail­ures’’ had been iden­ti­fied with Ga­los’ orig­i­nal vis­i­tor visa ap­pli­ca­tion but a re­view had found no fail­ures with the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

A spokesman for Simp­son said the min­is­ter did not to comment on in­di­vid­ual im­mi­gra­tion cases. A young woman who suf­fered a head in­jury in a rugby league match in Hawke’s Bay has died.

The 23-year-old woman was taken to Hawke’s Bay Hospi­tal on Au­gust 26 af­ter col­laps­ing on the field dur­ing a match be­tween Ta­matea and Dan­nevirke.

The woman, who played for Ta­matea, was taken to hospi­tal by am­bu­lance in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion. She passed away two days later.

The match at Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Sports Park in Hast­ings was played at 12.30pm.

Rugby League Hawke’s Bay sec­re­tary Mike Ta­mati said the woman ap­peared un­steady on her feet af­ter tak­ing a tackle.

He said her coach no­ticed this and called her to the side­line, where she col­lapsed.

‘‘It has been a huge shock to all of us and the rugby league com­mu­nity around the coun­try. We are car­ing for the fam­ily as much as we can through this process,’’ he said.

Tributes for the woman, who had a young child, have been flow­ing on her Face­book page.

‘‘The LOVE she has for her sib­lings and both her par­ents is to­tally amaz­ing,’’ one friend wrote.

‘‘You will greatly missed by many of peo­ple in NGATIKAHUNGUNU. RIP beau­ti­ful An­gel.’’

‘‘We are not per­fect and, in hind­sight, we have made some mi­nor mis­takes.’’

Steve Ra­zos Steve Ra­zos, his fi­ancee Krys­tel Ga­los and their son Kieran Ga­los.

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