A pregnant Chinese piano teacher who has lived in New Zealand since 2013 may soon be forced to leave the country due to a recent change in visa rules.
Since last year, 26-year-old Saber Xie had been on a skilled migrant visa under the sponsorship of her employer, but it is set to expire in March. Under previous rules, she could have been eligible to apply for citizenship in the middle of next year.
However, a new stipulation has been added to New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Visa back in April requiring skilled migrants to earn a minimum annual salary of NZD $48,859 ($35,300).
As a teacher, Xie earns NZD $500 ($360) per week, which is way below the requirement. Xie had previously asked her employer for higher pay, but it still wasn’t enough to get her over the threshold.
As she and her partner, Jeff McDonald, are expecting their baby to arrive soon, they are worried about how they’ll cope with her possible deportation.
“At this point either she has to take her kiwi son to China and raise it without his dad, or go back and leave him with me,” McDonald told Stuff.
“We want to raise our son in a loving home. We want to look for any possible way we can to be a family.”
Sponsoring Xie as McDonald’s partner is also no longer an option since he’s already sponsored two other people in the past.
Back in 2013, Xie moved from China to New Zealand to study music in University of Auckland. After graduating two years later with a postgraduate diploma, Xie was able to stay in the country via an open work visa and began teaching piano at Able Music, which is a local music academy. The school sponsored her visa that will expire next year.
An immigrant specialist advised that at this point, only a ministerial intervention will be able to help Xie.
“The only way forward for them is to go to the minister,” Malcolm Pacific Immigration’s David Cooper was quoted as saying. He noted that while a lot of requests had been denied, there are some cases which were approved.
Feature image via Facebook