Well we all know the Xenaverse is one heck of a group of people and it comes together when needed. This is one of those times. Two of our own needs our help. This is pretty long so please read it and support Martine and her partner Karin. If you can, please spread it far and wide – we know the Xenaverse can work miracles so let’s do what we can to make this happen for Martine and Karin.
If you are on facebook, Barbara Davies has an excellent post that you can share with your friends.
Martine de Grauw and Karin Oosterveen are a couple from Belgium. Upon visiting New Zealand, they fell in love and decided to move there. Karin got a job offer from a NZ company. They applied for and were granted visas by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on June 26, 2013, valid from July 10,2013 to July 10, 2014.
Martine and Karin were excited to start their new adventure. They quit their existing jobs giving up their pensions and insurance, packed their personal belongings in a sea container to be shipped, and put their house on the market.
On Feb 28, just days before they were to leave, Immigration New Zealand sent a message to their visa agent saying that their visas had been challenged due to information received from an anonymous person. Being in the process of packing, they didn't find out until hours before boarding to go to New Zealand that a block had been put on their visas due to this and that they could not enter NZ. This left them with nowhere to go as they were no longer registered in their country. They ended up in the Netherlands without any resources.
That was the end of February. It's been over 3.5 months and there is still NO RESOLUTION to their immigration status. They have done everything they can to try to resolve it from out-of-country. They hired a lawyer. They have submitted declarations and documents of proof, many signed by a notary. They have continued to pay fees on their sea container in port. They have NO source of income and are using their savings! They cannot legally work in the Netherlands.
INZ received an anonymous complaint. In the meantime, Karin and Martine found out that their privacy had been breached. Someone seemed to know when they were to leave and submitted a complaint at the last minute, knowing they would be put in a bad situation with no recourse. Karin's job offer is legitimate and they have acted in good faith based on such. Karin and Martine's visas expire on July 10, 2014. A court date has been set for July 14, 4 days after their visas expire
As of July 14, their container will be stored at the port for about 134 days = 7370 euro; the cost of the lawyer in NZ = 20.000 euro; a loan for all the export/import and storage, and 12 months mortgage of their property in Belgium = 25000 euro.
Got bad news.
What we feared has happened.
Judge decided against us. And we don’t know if the proof by the expert clearly stating that the stolen emails are unreliable have been considered. Didn’t notice anything about it. Also we didn’t find anything about the fact that our privacy and that of our future employer was breached. Nor did we find any notice of all statutory declaration of us and our employer that the job is a genuine one. We don’t know how to proof it more. The only possibility to proof that is to enter NZ and pick up the job. But that is taken away from us.
We also wonder if what Person X claims has been investigated to see if that is all true. Cause as the emails have been proven to be unreliable......
We are now forced to go in appeal cause otherwise we never
can enter NZ or maybe any other country.
We are ruined for life.
If you take a look at the NZ Herald, rich people are more loved, even with a criminal or convicted background. Cause those people can enter without any problem as they can spend a lot of money.
We are furious. We are honest people and treated as criminals. We had a very good life and now nothing anymore.
I don't see how to live further. NZ showed a total other side. A side of money.
I just don't see any light anymore. All I do now is crying
We feel so at home in NZ and now this is happening.
Although we meet all requirements and the visas are extended until January 2015 they refuse to let us enter NZ. It seems now that a visa is no guarantee to enter NZ. How strange. We went through the whole application, our application was approved and we got a resident visa that allow to work, live and study in NZ. If you get that you start planning everything. You think all is ok. Even a visa agent thinks all is ok. You wouldn’t go through such an expensive procedure and give up your good lives if the visa has no guarantee for entering NZ. A resident visa that allows to live, work and study in NZ, therefore you need to enter NZ, isn’t it?
Right now it seems to us, that the application has become just a financial product without any guarantee.
The delay is huge now. It can take 6 to 18 months now.
As we gave all up and have no jobs, income, insurance and staying with family, such a delay is also putting the family in problems now.
We are forced to sell our house at a bottom price to get money. We are now ending up with nothing. We lost everything.
What happenend before?
We were supposed to leave on 4th March 2015 and immigrate for NZ by 6th March 2015. But a few hours before boarding the airplane INZ informed us (through our visa agent) not to travel. INZ refused to tell us the reason why and told us we had to wait for their email, which came later.
From the below, quite long explanation you will notice that injustice is done to us and that is ruining our life.
Have we become victims because we are gay? We have a strong feeling about that.
We have always been supporting projects to safeguard New Zealand as well supporting Star Ship Foundation. And through our personal websites we promoted NZ and many people found their way to NZ.
But what is happening to us right now and how INZ is treating us is changing the invitation card of NZ very drastically.
To prove the honesty of our case you are invited to check with our sollicitor Rod Hooker based in Auckland - Telephone: 09 360 0321 - Upper Level, 19 Blake Street, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
Five months ago now already, we landed all of a sudden in a terrible situation created by a kiwi.
In July 2013 we obtained our resident visa and we immediately started preparing our move. We cancelled our good jobs, insurances, pension funds, health care, sold our car and put our house on the market.
We took a 12 month international loan to cover the pending mortgage of our property until it would be sold and to cover the first costs after arrival in NZ.
We planned everything for a perfect start. Our future NZ employer was waiting impatient for our arrival on 6th March 2014.
The person causing all the problems has stolen over 400 pages of company and private emails between us and the employer and our visa agent. That is a breach of privacy.
An expert, recognized by the court, has checked all those pages and proved that the pages and the text and emails are unreliable for a lot of reasons. So in a way person X managed to twist the interpretation of the emails to his advantage
and making us less then desirable characters. So we are also attacked into our integrity.
Everything from our side is genuine and therefore INZ also approved in July 2013 the visas.
Moreover this Person X kept all information for about 7-8 months and only sent it to immigration just before we were boarding the plane. Isn’t that acting with premeditation with the intension to harm?
That resulted in the fact that we could not leave at all as immigration blocked immediately our visas (border alert). Did they investigate all that information in such a short time? Hardly to believe since even today we hear that they are still investigating. But what they are investigating, we don’t know.
According our lawyer our names could not be flagged as we meet and still meet all requirements.
Withholding the received information didn’t allow us in the beginning to defend ourselves in a proper way. Even today some information is still withheld.
The same person X must have stalked us as he knew exactly when we would leave for NZ. He even looked up our personal websites.
Therefore we were forced to take a lawyer and all our savings were needed to pay him. It took about 2 months to force INZ to provide all documents and still then they withheld a part
which delayed the whole process again. Even today not all information is released by INZ although they confirmed earlier. They informed our lawyer that they still are withholding some information and are considering if they can release or not. That is again delaying the whole case.
Because of that we needed to bring INZ before court and to seek approval to enter NZ in the meantime, so we could pick up the job and proof the hard way all is genuine.
INZ admitted already they made some errors. But we can’t get rid of the feeling they stay prejudiced despite all the proof and declarations we gave. What can we do more? You are so powerless against people being prejudiced. But shouldn’t justice not be prevail?
Up to now all we feel is prejudice.
We had to rebook everything again, container and flight tickets.
How is this all possible in New Zealand?
Our lawyer is acting on our behalf to defend us towards INZ and to defend our integrity and the attack on our sexual orientation. It is a case against INZ as the reporting was done by a so called anonymous person.
INZ is protecting the privacy of the informant. But they don’t care about the fact that our privacy has been unlawful breached by the informant.
This has now resulted that we are already stranded for more than 5 months with my parents-in-law, residents of The Netherlands, living from their small pension. Personally my wife and I are completely ruined. We are even losing our property due to lack of funds. And we are forced to stay with them until this case is solved. But as it might take another 6 to 18 months, this will jeopardize also the financial situation of them. We cannot work as the fact that we are staying with them would penalise them on their super annum. And we cannot hire a place of our own because we have no job.
Our visas expired begin July 2014 and INZ extended them to January 2015.
Our financial situation today is as follow :
- Spent 12000 euro (savings and former employer fee) all gone to the lawyer.
- Spent another 17.000 euro for the lawyer and taken out of the international loan.
- 50.000 euro 12 months International loan to cover 12 months mortgage, import/export costs container, storage container NZ. And my house as a collateral.
- 37.000 euro outstanding mortgage. (can be paid off once the house is sold)
- 9000 euro demurrage (container at the port in Europe since begin March 2014) And the risk exist that the port will consider our container as abandon after a long period and confiscate it. We will lose everything, our personal belongings, memories, our whole life. We have no possibilities to take the container from the port to another place.
On 3/6/2014 our lawyer defended a first time our case before court. He asked an interim order to extend the visas and also an interim order to let us leave per 15/6/2014, so we could already work in NZ while the case went on. We only got the extension of the visas.
We cannot go back to our home as the bank will demand the payment of the international loan on the spot. So selling the house at a cheap bottom price is the only possibility.
Can’t bring the container back cause we have no money to pay for the demurrage. So in a way we lose our personal belongings as well.
All this because of 1 person. What has this person against us anyway?
Moving over to NZ is the only option to control the financial damage. Cause once our house is sold we can pay off everything. Even when the start is now more difficult, we are hard workers. We both have strong letter of recommendation. You don’t get that if you haven’t proven yourself.
The strongest proof we can give to show that the job offer is genuine, is to take up the job in NZ. But INZ doesn’t allow us to show that strong proof.
If we cannot leave for INZ, we will lose all we have built up during a life time of 40-50 years with a 20-30 years business experience and end up at the bottom of the society. We will not be able to benefit of any unemployment and healthcare fees in our own country.
It is very sad to see what a single person can do to destroy the life of others. For what reason? It is still unbelievable to us but it is reality.
We already sent a letter to Lucy Lawless as she has perhaps contacts in politics that might help us. Any support is welcome.
That is what is going on right now.
The Xena Convention Auckland will still take place as my co-organisor Trude Bethell (from Bethells Beach Cottages) will take it over, in case we cannot make it to NZ.
Lots of love,