Sri Lankan fam­ily win de­por­ta­tion re­prieve

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS -

A Sri Lankan fam­ily who won the sup­port of the Queen­stown com­mu­nity in their fight against de­por­ta­tion have been given a re­prieve. They will be al­lowed to stay in New Zealand for an­other year.

Clutha-South­land MP Hamish Walker has been sup­port­ing the fam­ily, Di­ne­sha Amaras­inghe, Sam Wi­jerathne and their three boys Se­nath, Su­bath and Bi­nath. He said the Im­mi­gra­tion and Pro­tec­tion Tri­bunal (IPT) ruled they could stay in New Zealand for the next year on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds, while their res­i­dence ap­pli­ca­tion was as­sessed.

“I called Di­ne­sha and Sam this morn­ing — they were both very emo­tional and so was I.

“Di­ne­sha and Sam have worked in­cred­i­bly hard to sup­port their chil­dren and give them a bright fu­ture in New Zealand and this is the out­come they de­serve,” Walker said.

The fam­ily have lived in New Zealand for eight years but faced de­por­ta­tion af­ter Di­ne­sha’s ap­pli­ca­tion for a work visa re­newal was de­clined due to health is­sues. Their res­i­dency ap­pli­ca­tion, sub­mit­ted in 2013, is on hold.

More than 400 peo­ple in the Queen­stown com­mu­nity marched in Novem­ber to sup­port the fam­ily.

“It was in­cred­i­bly hum­bling to see the way peo­ple came to­gether to show com­pas­sion and an out­pour­ing of love for a fam­ily that they re­spect and we want as part of the Queen­stown com­mu­nity,” Walker said.

“The Wi­jerathne fam­ily are re­spected mem­bers of the Queen­stown com­mu­nity and an ex­am­ple of how mi­grant work­ers liv­ing, work­ing, and con­tribut­ing to our com­mu­ni­ties in pos­i­tive ways are so valu­able to New Zealand, and es­pe­cially com­mu­ni­ties like Queen­stown and Te Anau.”

There was still a lot to do how­ever.

“While to­day’s re­sult is ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic, the so­lu­tion is only tem­po­rary and the fam­ily still need to seek res­i­dency.

“We have won a bat­tle, but not the war and I’ll con­tinue to sup­port them through this process and keep the pres­sure on the Min­is­ter,” Walker said. — Otago Daily Times

Pic­ture / ODT

Sam Wi­jerathne and his wife Di­ne­sha Amaras­inghe with Clutha-South­land MP Hamish Walker.

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