Sick mother granted New Zealand residency to stay with NZ family

Evangeline Acero Stanners, of Christchurch, is married to a New Zealander and has two New Zealand-born children but she faced being returned to the Philippines alone when her New Zealand work permit expired in January.  She was initially told by Immigration New Zealand that she will not be granted residency, which she applied for in June last year, because she was diagnosed with having advanced kidney disease during her second pregnancy last year.

But yesterday Mrs Stanners cried for two hours after being told of Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson's decision to allow her residency over the phone yesterday morning.

"I just kept hugging my children, and I guess crying is just a normal response," she said.

"Words cannot explain how happy I am," she told the New Zealand Herald.

"I am still stunned by the announcement. I am so grateful at being given this chance to be able to plan for my future, and a chance to be around for my children's future."

Her husband, Richard Stanners, 55, said the minister's decision  "saved my wife's life", because as a New Zealand resident she would be able to use the public health system.

Mrs Stanners has only 15 per cent liver function and would need a transplant or dialysis to live, an expensive medical treatment as only New Zealand and Australian residents and citizens, and those in the country on at least a two-year New Zealand work permit, qualify for public health funding.

"We wouldn't have been able to afford the $65,000 dialysis treatment it would have cost us a year, and she would have surely died," Mr Stanners said.

The couple married in the Philippines in November, 2006.

Mrs Stanners was granted a 12-month New Zealand visitor's visa when they moved to New Zealand the following April and was later granted New Zealand work permits.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in New Zealand visa and immigration services.