Moving as a family from South Africa

As a highly experienced clinical prosthetist, Johan changes the lives of those living with disabilities. In 2021, Johan and his family made the decision to make a change to their own lives by immigrating to New Zealand from South Africa.

“The state of disarray in South Africa meant uncertainty about what future we faced there – especially my son’s ability to study at a world-leading tertiary institute,” says Johan. “New Zealand offered us hope and stability.”

However, at the time the family planned to move, the COVID pandemic had started to complicate matters. “I could only travel to New Zealand on a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa as a healthcare frontline worker. The New Zealand border had just closed meaning my wife and son would hopefully join me later.”

COVID was starting to make the immigration process extremely difficult. “Immigration New Zealand (INZ) were unclear about which visa my wife and son should apply for,” says Johan.

Fortunately, the HR advisor at Johan’s new place of work in New Zealand advised him to engage with an immigration lawyer and gave him Aaron’s contact number. “We set up a virtual meeting in January 2021. Aaron had to communicate with Immigration New Zealand to find a pathway or understanding as to what visa to use,” says Johan.

“The decision was for me to stay on my Critical Purpose Visitor’s Visa and my wife and son to apply on the same mechanism with assistance from my employer (even though they were not healthcare professionals).”

Despite that process initially being unsuccessful, Aaron and his team were persistent. Finally, at the end of March 2021, Johan’s wife and son received their Critical Purpose Visitor’s Visas and were able to book flights to come to New Zealand.

The next step in the process for Johan’s family was an Accredited Employer Work Visa for Johan, a Work Visa for his wife, and a Student Visa for his son to start his tertiary education at Auckland University.

“Aaron and the team at NZIL paved the path for us to receive the necessary visas, which we received in July 2021.”

When INZ decided to implement a one-off 2021 Resident Visa, Johan and his family were eligible to apply.

“Aaron prepared our applications, and we were able to apply in March 2022 and received our Resident Visas in December. Further good news was that with the visas approved, my son’s status was changed to that of a domestic student which meant we were refunded his university fees.

“When you make the huge move to come to a new country, you need someone who cares and gets the job done,” says Johan. “I’d describe Aaron as being reliable, committed, and resourceful. He communicated clearly what we had to do to get results and continually kept me up to date on what INZ had decided. Without his help, I would not have been able to get my family to New Zealand during the pandemic.”

Johan and his family say that while it was a difficult process to make the permanent move here, it has been very worthwhile. “It’s been a big change, but I am really enjoying my work here. My son is adapting well and loving uni life, and we’re all enjoying exploring this beautiful country.”

If you need help bringing your family to New Zealand, contact Aaron Martin, our principal immigration lawyer, for help today.

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