A wife caring for her dementia-stricken husband has won a four-year battle for permanent residency.
Leonora McKelvey, 69, from Blenheim, married husband David in 2015.
Threatened several times with deportation, Leonora fought to stay and care for her ailing husband.
Leonora was finally granted NZ residence by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) last Monday.
A spokesman for the company representing the couple has welcomed the decision but blasted officials previously dealing with their case, accusing them of a “a total absence” of fairness.
“The manner in which Leonora has been treated by all INZ officials over the four previous years … displayed a total absence of any semblance of fairness or natural justice,” he says.
Originally from the Philippines, Leonora came to New Zealand in 2014 on a visitor visa to see her son.
She met and married David, who was diagnosed with dementia a year after their wedding.
The spokesman says by caring for David at home, Leonora has proven her genuine commitment to her husband.
“He has been cared for by Leonora 24/7 for more than 1000 days. Her love, care and Christian ethics have ensured David could remain at home and have some measure of quality and life enjoyment.”
He added that Leonora wanted to thank all those who gave their support, particularly the previous and current Associate Ministers of Immigration, the Hon Kris Faafoi and then Hon Poto Williams.
He also paid tribute to Immigration Advisor Sam Yoon for his “outstanding” work.
“Over the last six months, Sam’s interaction with the final documentation within INZ has been crucial to an excellent and final result,” he says.
He credited immigration officer Isabella Stern, praising her for her “steadfastness and principled approach.”
“Her fortitude in arriving at the correct decision displayed fairness and natural justice and was in adherence to the best principals that all immigration officers must strive to reach,” he says.
The couple have struggled on the poverty line for four years, surviving on one pension, growing their own vegetables and trying to keep costs to a minimum.
The spokesman says Leonora would now like to maintain a “quiet life” and care for David.
‘They would also like to thank all their church members and friends.
“Leonora’s overall situation will in time be carefully examined to determine the facts and accountability to the fate of this remarkable, humble woman.
“Her faith, courage and love for all have carried her through her last 20 years of a journey that most of us would find unbelievable and very difficult to endure.”