Following numerous news stories this morning about the INZ forcing a Lithuanian Tourist to leave NZ despite complications from a high risk pregnancy (see Another pregnant woman kicked out ) Jonathan Coleman, Immigration minister, has had to react swiftly to limit further damage to the bruised and battered reputation of INZ.
INZ wrote to Mrs Skiauteris saying "As you no longer hold a valid permit, you must arrange to leave New Zealand immediately. If you do not leave, Immigration NZ may take further action against you." despite Mrs Skiauteris' antenatal consultant Alex Ivancevic writing to them to tell them "Her pregnancy is a high risk ... She is strongly advised bed rest and avoidance of any activity that might potentially provoke pre-term labour."
The text of Jonathan Coleman's press release is as follows:
"Pregnant Lithuanian visitor can stay
Immigration New Zealand's decision to decline a visitor's permit to a Lithuanian woman suffering pregnancy complications was a poor one, says Immigration Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.
"Immigration New Zealand has reviewed the decision and offered the woman a visitor's permit allowing her to remain in New Zealand beyond the birth of her child. While her visitor's permit remains valid she is able to apply for further permits," Dr Coleman says.
"The woman had been advised by her doctor that travelling would place herself and her unborn baby at risk.
"I believe that declining the permit was a poor decision by the department. I am pleased that common sense has prevailed and that the woman has now been issued a permit allowing her to stay in New Zealand."
A recent Auditor-General's report into Immigration New Zealand raised serious concerns about the quality of decision making processes within the organisation, and found an unacceptable variation in quality of decision making between branches.
"The Auditor-General's report highlighted the need for improvement at all levels of the organisation. Substantial improvements to decision making and service as outlined in that report must be made," Dr Coleman says.
"The department must deliver a consistently high standard of service to its customers."
Great news for Mr and Mrs Skiauteris. Isn't a bit of adverse publicity a wonderful thing.
Here's hoping for a safe and trouble free delivery for the couple and that they are able to access the services they need in New Zealand.