Woman's desperate plea to stay in New Zealand with Kiwi husband

Katy Davis met the love of her life a week into her holiday - now she has to leave.
Katy Davis met the love of her life a week into her holiday - now she has to leave. Photo credit: Katy Davis / Supplied.

At 28 years-old, it took Katy Davis just seven days to meet the love of her life, Greg, while visiting New Zealand from Canada on a backpacking trip with friends.

Now, after three years together, the couple, who were married in October of 2017, are fighting to stay together after Immigration New Zealand (INZ) declined her visa to stay and work in the country.

Mrs Davis told Newshub she has already used up her two partnership work visas - but when she went to do the third one, she realised INZ only allow for two.

The now-31-year-old, who turns 32 next month, had the option to either apply for residency and wait the nine-month processing time, or apply for a second work-sponsored visa. 

With money tight after the couple's wedding and a much shorter processing time, they chose to apply for the work sponsored visa. 

The couple were married in October of 2017.
The couple were married in October of 2017. Photo credit: Katy Davis / Supplied.

Mrs Davis was shocked to find that as well as being declined - despite her first work visa accepted for the same role - INZ gave her 21 days to leave the country. She will leave New Zealand on Monday night to head back to Canada. 

She told Newshub she is devastated to be separated from her husband, Mr Davis, as well as his two children who the couple care for full-time.

Mr Davis' eight-year-old daughter must now accept she will lose her "BFF" until the family can come up with another option. 

"The day we found out Immigration's decision, she cried and cried and told me she loved me and not to leave her," Mrs Davis says.

"She also has started a petition for people who want me to stay as well as wrote Immigration a letter. She just turned eight so it's truly beautiful."

The two children still have a relationship with their birth mum and see her every school holidays.

Mrs Davis' love for New Zealand was found after backpacking through South East Asia with two friends before arriving in Auckland ready to tour the North and South Island for six months.

"I didn't expect to love it here as much as I did, and I met Greg in my first week here."

The couple care full-time for Mr Davis' two children from a previous relationship.
The couple care full-time for Mr Davis' two children from a previous relationship.

Mr Davis quickly swept Mrs Davis off her feet, visiting restaurants and cafes around the city together to see what the City of Sails had to offer.

"We've pretty much spent every day together since the moment we met and still do - we even work together."

They booked a trip to Mrs Davis' hometown in Canada within the first two months of dating and travelled there six months later.

Once he met all of her friends and family and everyone loved him before heading to Mexico for a week to relax.

When the couple went back to Canada for another week, they visited the waterfalls where her parent's ashes are scattered.

He didn't tell Mrs Davis at the time, but it was among the rushing water and serene environment her future-husband shared his intention to marry her, in lieu of being able to ask for her dad's permission.

"I went to the edge of the waterfall for a little moment to talk to my parents and threw some roses in the water. When I turned back, Greg was on one knee and proposed."

They flew back to Auckland in June and four months later got the news that his former partner wanted his daughter and his stepson to live with them full time for a year.

The pair are inseparable and now face living apart after failing to get Katy's working visa approved.
The pair are inseparable and now face living apart after failing to get Katy's working visa approved. Photo credit: Katy Davis / Supplied.

"We of course said yes, even though it freaked me out and we scrambled to find a house big enough for us all in those two weeks.

"We did it though - and now two years later and one more move, we still have the kids."

Instead of gifts for their wedding, they asked for donations towards a honeymoon to go on a "last little trip" before having more kids.

Mrs Davis says she feels pain for all of the other couples who face this challenge and would like to see a fairer policy regarding partners of New Zealand citizens and residents.

She accepts some blame because if she had known the policy that only allows 24 months of partnership visas she says she would have done things differently. 

Mrs Davis would like to see INZ make it clear to people when they are accepted for their final one.

"It wasn't until we went to submit the third partnership work visa that we found out that they only allow two. I think that's a policy that needs to be looked at."

She also struggles to understand why the previous work in the same role, with the same employer who wants to sponsor her, is not considered in her application. 

Mrs Davis is desperate for their case to be reconsidered with their family's circumstances and prior work experience being accounted for.
Mrs Davis is desperate for their case to be reconsidered with their family's circumstances and prior work experience being accounted for. Photo credit: Katy Davis / Supplied.

INZ's visa services manager Michael Carley told Newshub that Mrs Davis has applied for a temporary work visa under the Essential Skills category, and that it was declined because she did not meet the requirements. 

Mr Carley said that in both applications, the Immigration officer was aware of concerns about both the qualifications and work experience.

"When INZ received the second application it became apparent the employment was not discrete but ongoing and therefore it was correctly declined, as neither the qualifications or work experience met the requirements for ongoing employment."

He said that Immigration officers can use discretion for temporary applications.

Mrs Davis believes she is "hands down" qualified for the role, and wants to see INZ takes into account the two-and-a-half years she completed in the job and as well as relevant experience. She also hopes her family situation is also considered. 

She is now waiting for INZ to make their decision on her reconsideration so she can come back to New Zealand, work and apply for residency. 

If the reconsideration is declined, she will need to apply for residency from outside of the country and wait the nine-month processing time. 

She's been humbled by the support from friends, family and strangers who have contacted her.

Mr Davis has launched a Givealittle page to help the family to come up with funds for an immigration lawyer to find options for his wife to stay with their family. 

To be faced with a "horrible situation" that has changed their lives has been their toughest battle yet but the pair say they are committed to continue searching for a way to make it work. 

Newshub. 

 

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz