Auckland's La Vista owners say 'life, future' in Associate Immigration Minister's hands

4:27 pm on 16 April 2019

A petition to keep the Ukrainian owners of a popular Auckland restaurant in New Zealand hasn't got any traction with MPs.

La Vista owner Nataliya Shchetkova.

La Vista owner Nataliya Shchetkova. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

The Shchetkova family, who own La Vista in St Heliers, arrived in New Zealand six years ago on a long-term business visa.

Immigration New Zealand declined them residency and they've been told to sell their business and to leave the country by July.

Two petitions, with more than 15,000 signatures combined, urging Associate Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi to intervene were presented to Parliament in February.

Both were considered by MPs on the Education and Workforce select committee.

In a report, the committee said as a general rule, it did not consider it appropriate to express a view on individual immigration cases.

It said this was separate to individual members of Parliament advocating for constituents on immigration matters.

Mr Faafoi's office received a request for assistance from the Shchetkovas in February.

His office said he was still considering their request.

Nataliya Shchetkova said she expected the select committee to support the petition because of the overwhelming number of signatures.

"We were very upset when we found out that they don't want to be on any side."

Ms Shchetkova described Ukraine as a "black hole" in Europe and going back there would be a disaster for her family.

The Shchetkova family is now waiting for Mr Faafoi's response.

"The whole family's destiny, our life, our future just in the [Associate] Immigration Minister's hands. Now we can just put our hopes on his decision."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs