The couple’s lawyer filed an appeal a day late. Photo / 123RF
A couple who faced being deported to different countries have been told they can stay in New Zealand.
Russian engineer Vadim Skorodelov and Spanish teacher Olga Sanchez Egea met as students in 2018. They were waiting for residence when he was made redundant, and he planned to start his own company.
But an immigration adviser told him to do nothing until their residence came through, and wait for his previous company to advise Immigration New Zealand.
Their lawyer filed an appeal a day late.
The immigration and protection tribunal said Sanchez Egea, who faced deportation as she was on a partnership visa, could not be expected to move to Russia during the war with Ukraine.
It said the EU had also tightened its approach to Russians seeking to settle there.
“The human rights situation in Russia raises serious concerns as does the continuing war against Ukraine,” the tribunal said.
“This war has heightened tension between Russia and the European Union. While many Russians will be conducting relatively normal lives without difficulty, given the war, it would be unreasonable to expect Sanchez Egea, a European Union national, to accompany Skorodelov to Russia should they be deported.
“Even should she be able to obtain a visa to enter the country (which is uncertain), she is not Russian, does not speak Russian, and has no connections there other than to Skorodelov. Should Skorodelov be unable to secure a visa allowing him to settle in Spain with Sanchez Egea, it follows that their deportation would cause their separation.”
The tribunal noted in September 2022, the Council of the European Union adopted a full suspension of visa facilitation with Russia.
“In light of the exceptional humanitarian circumstances that have been found to exist, and the circumstances giving rise to the appellants’ liability for deportation including the lack of fault on the part of Sanchez Egea, and the very limited fault on the part of Skorodelov, the tribunal finds that deportation would be unjust and unduly harsh.”
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