British miners face deportation over New Zealand visa technicality

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 24 October 2012

Mark Pointon and Jason Brown moved to Greymouth from Yorkshire 20 months ago to take up skilled mining occupations with Solid Energy - a state-owned coal mining company. Both men were granted a New Zealand visa on the condition that they were earning at least NZ$55,000 (£28,000) a year.

The two men took up their positions and were just three months away from qualifying for and gaining permanent residency. However, in an official announcement from Solid Energy, both men are to be made redundant.

The terms of their visas require them to work for Solid Energy and earn at least NZ$55,000, meaning they are unable to accept any other position and likely to face deportation.

"Even Margaret Thatcher showed more compassion," said Mr Pointon as he and Mr Brown appealed to Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn for assistance.

Mr Kokshoorn has demanded Solid Energy to take account for their actions and criticised the firm's handling of redundancies.

"The management have let their workforce down," said the mayor, who is taking the men's case to the prime minister's office.

"This is the government employing these people. The buck stops with them."

Both men have been offered jobs as part of the rebuild operation in Christchurch yet the positions do not meet their visa conditions and cannot solve their predicament without more visa flexibility.

Jenny Espiner, visa processing manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says it can be beneficial to know the terms of and conditions of any visa granted to avoid situations like these.

"While being made redundant is always going to come as an unexpected, and unwelcome, shock, knowing the terms and conditions of your visa - what you can do, where you can go and who you can work for - can allow you to plan contingencies should the worst happen," said Ms Espiner.

"If in any doubt, speak to an immigration adviser to discuss the terms of your visa."


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.