4 Mar 2015

Deportation only option, says Chilean family

5:55 am on 4 March 2015

A Chilean man says his family will have to be deported as they don't have the money to leave New Zealand voluntarily.

Mauricio Ravet and daughter Kate on 18 February 2015.

Mauricio Ravet and daughter Kate. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

The Ravet family came to New Zealand in 2004, and will be deported at the end of the month unless they leave on their own terms.

Mauricio Ravet, who lives in Christchurch with his wife and two daughters, said the news had come as a shock, and they did not know what to do.

He said the family had no money for flights back to Chile, and would not be able to get the money by the end of the month.

Mr Ravet said that if he had only been here for a few years, he would just leave quietly, but that this was not the case, as one of his daughters, Kate Ravet, was born here, and is a New Zealand citizen.

He said he worked in New Zealand legally when he came here, but a permit he had had in 2011 expired early last year, and he was never allowed to renew it.

Mauricio Ravet said he accepted he had broken the law, but for him, it was not that simple.

"I broke the rules, to overstay longer, with my family, but we haven't got another option.

"We came here looking for a better future for our children, and after 2005 when my little girl was born, we decided to stay in the country and do everything possible to get the residency."

Associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss said in a statement the family had had plenty of chances to resolve their issues, and have failed.

"The family have had ample opportunity to upskill, regularise their immigration status, or make plans to depart New Zealand.

"They have misrepresented themselves to Immigration New Zealand on several occasions, and reneged on previous agreements."

Mr Ravet said Immigration Services told him when he got the permit in 2011, which has since expired, it would be a fresh start, and that they would not use his historical overstaying to deny him future residency, which they had done.

"They told me, it was a new beginning for me and my family, and before that permit expired, they told me, you will have to re-apply for your work permit, and then apply for residency.

"When I tried to renew my permit, the first time, they declined my application."

He said his biggest concern was for his nine-year-old New Zealand born daughter, who does not have Chilean citizenship.

"She will not get any benefit from the government. And the government in Chile is not really good like here. And she will have to wait for at least a year to become a Chilean citizen."

The family have been given until the end of March to leave voluntarily.

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