Ukrainian restaurant owner Nataliya Shchetkova appeared in front of a Parliamentary Select Committee today to make a "last chance" plea for her family to stay in New Zealand.
After being in New Zealand for six years on a long-term business visa, Ms Shchetkova, her husband Alex Derecha and their five children will be deported on July 1, leaving behind their Auckland restaurant La Vista.
In a statement, Immigration New Zealand previously said the business did not add significant benefit to the country by creating sustained and on-going employment over and above the existing level of employment.
The family believes the decision by Immigration NZ was "an oversight" and want the organisation to let them stay.
Originally, the family were going to buy a 140 seat restaurant, but purchased a smaller restaurant in 2013 with 40 seats after the original deal fell through.
Today, Ms Shchetkova expressed her concerns for her employees, unsure of their future if the restaurant shuts down.
Nataliya said, there was a "huge responsibility on my shoulders".
The Shchetkova family’s case is currently being considered by Associate Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi, with the unusual issue to come before a Select Committee before a decision is made.
However, National’s Nikki Kaye told Ms Shchetkova the committee was "hearing your plea", despite having no influence on the particular case.
”The Minister has huge discretion," she added.
ACT's David Seymour told 1 NEWS "some of the people in the committee are missing the sense of emergency, the family will have to take their kids out of school, find a new owner or sell the restaurant".
He said their restaurant has nearly doubled in size with seats, profit and employees, and added that deportation would mean sending the family back to Ukraine and putting them in a war zone.
With time running out for the Shchetkova family, a petition was created which has reached over 14,000 signatures to gain New Zealand residence.
By Abbey Wakefield