South African family given last chance to stay in New Zealand
A South African woman currently living unlawfully in New Zealand has been given one more chance to remain in the country. Cherie Vermaak, who has two teenage children also living in Zealand, has been given six weeks to find a job if she wants to stay in the country.
After he plight was reported in the media, Ms Vermaak says she has been inundated by kindly locals offering her jobs, food and support. One potential employer said they could train the 42-year-old to work in the healthcare industry, while another said they could offer her a job if she was willing to relocate with the family.
In addition, a recruitment agency got in touch with Ms Vermaak offering help, while another woman said she could work as a nanny for her grandchildren. The single mother is currently living in Christchurch but lost her job with the council after Immigration New Zealand refused to extend her visa while she gathered updated documents.
Since Vermaak’s visa was declined, her 16-year-old daughter has been forced to leave school and her 19-year-old son has been unable to find work. The family has been forced to sell many of their belongings to pay the rent, and Vermaak says they have been struggling to buy enough food to eat.
The family left South Africa in 2007, as they feared for their safety, but had been happily living in New Zealand until March. Immigration New Zealand demanded that medical and police checks were updated just two days before Vermaak’s visa expired, leaving her in limbo.
The family’s plight was first reported in The Press.
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