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Ricardo Menéndez March.

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Law & Order

Green MP says Latu family still has immigration battle ahead

Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March spoke on PMN Tuvalu about what’s next for Loasi Latu and her husband, following a five-year temporary visa extension.

A Green Party MP says although the Latu family have succeeded in keeping their aunt in New Zealand for five more years, "the fight hasn't finished".

Immigration NZ (INZ) had advised Loasi Latu and her husband to leave the country voluntarily. The couple have lived in Aotearoa for decades, and Loasi is also the carer for her brother Viliami, a New Zealand resident who needs 24/7 support for his intellectual disability and epilepsy.

The family recently went public with their story, which received enormous support including from the entire Green Party caucus, and has led to Loasi receiving a five-year temporary visa from the Associate Immigration Minister.

Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March told Fala Haulagi on PMN Tuvalu that it’s heartbreaking to know that the family had to go “above and beyond” through their collaborative efforts of community prayers, a petition and reaching out to news outlets.

“No family should have to go through that," March said.

"That’s the other part that breaks my heart, to know that families have to spill their guts to the media to get a result that was obvious from the beginning.”

He adds that although the outcome was great, INZ failed to "recognise the value of family".

"Basically, INZ was going to tear apart a Pasifika family.

"I do want to note that this is not necessarily what the family was after, they were after a residency class visa. And so the fight kind of hasn't finished.

"This takes me back to the issue of why we need better residency pathways for Pacific peoples coming to Aotearoa because there kind of is no legitimate residency pathway outside of the parent category visa."

The luxury of the parent-visa option
The parent category visa is a system where an adult with NZ citizenship or residency of three years, can sponsor their parent or parents for a resident visa. However, salary is a vital factor among many for this sponsorship, where a single adult must earn just over $131,000 to sponsor two parents, whereas with two sponsors they must earn at least $164,732.

"A six-figure salary to qualify can make it really difficult. So, that's part of the next stage of the fight. The family is still really stoked having been in touch with them," March said.

He said that the parent category visa also has huge delays and that the family could go to Immigration & Protection Tribunal to ask for humanitarian consideration.

“This takes me back to why it’s important that those associate immigration ministers make good decisions. I think neither National or Labour have gotten the immigration settings right that honours a connection to the Pacific and the family unit.”

Watch the full interview via PMN Tuvalu's FB below: