David Seymour starts petition for Ukrainian family facing deportation, over 12,000 signed

Act leader David Seymour has started a petition urging the Government to allow the Ukrainian family facing deportation to stay.

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Almost 12,000 people have signed the petition. Source: Breakfast

Over 12,000 people have signed the petition in support of the Shchetkova family, with a rally being held at 11am on Sunday morning in Saint Heliers village.

Mr Seymour told TVNZ1’s Breakfast he meet Nataliya and her family and says they’re wonderful people that own a very busy restaurant with great kids engaged in the community.

“I thought everyone says New Zealand wants people to immigrate and come and contribute and integrate into the community and become Kiwis and now we’ve got some people doing that and the Government wants to send them back to the Ukraine.

"On the other hand you’ve got an immigration department perhaps following some guidelines saying well look actually sorry you didn’t tick the right box and now you’re uprooting three New Zealand citizen children back to the Ukraine and I think that’s wrong.”

Minister Kris Faafoi is considering over riding the rules.

“The minister has the ability to over ride the rules if he thinks they’ve been unfairly applied.

“If there was a time to do it then this would be it,” Mr Seymour says.

Nataliya Shchetkova who owns the popular La Vista restaurant in Auckland's St Heliers arrived in New Zealand six years ago on a long-term business visa.

Her family applied for residency under the Entrepreneur category, which is used by migrants who have established a business that significantly benefits New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand said Mrs Shchetkova had not been able to demonstrate that she had met the list of criteria under the category, according to RNZ.

It said Mrs Shchetkova needed to have shown that La Vista had created ongoing and full-time employment "over and above the pre-existing staffing levels".

Based on the evidence provided, INZ said it was not satisfied Mrs Shchetkova had done this.

It said several employment agreements had no set minimum hours of work, and that Mrs Shchetkova had failed to demonstrate the immigration status of a number of staff.

INZ also said Mrs Shchetkova claimed that she had benefited New Zealand by revitalising an existing business which had led to increased financial performance.

But INZ later found that La Vista had failed to turn a profit, instead making a shortfall of more than $230,000.

It said Mrs Shchetkova had appealed its decision to the Independent Immigration and Protection Tribunal, which upheld INZ's ruling.

Mrs Shchetkova said the claims that La Vista is not profitable were incorrect, and it had been making money for the past five years.

It had made a loss during the first year it was open, but following that it had been making money, she said.

She said her family provided Immigration with everything possibly needed to ensure the department had the correct information, including the passports of her employees.

Mrs Shchetkova has now been told to sell the business and to leave the country by July.