“The Government’s appalling attitude towards entrepreneurs from overseas has been exposed yet again. This time it’s a young French family who have worked desperately to keep their Napier cafe open despite multiple lockdowns and restrictions,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“The family fell victim to the Government’s honeytrap visa – the Entrepreneur Work Visa. They arrived in 2018 and the visa stated that they needed to increase their revenue and provide employment opportunities, something that has been impossible for any business under the Government’s repressive COVID rules.

“This visa is meant to encourage entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to New Zealand, work hard, and create jobs, however the vast majority of people who get this visa are subsequently refused residency due to inane criteria and have to leave.

“This case highlights that despite having been in the pandemic for two years, the Minister of Immigration hasn’t fixed the obvious flaw in this visa – that COVID-19 has made it unachievable. What has he been doing for two years? Kicking out hardworking people is the definition of unkind.

“This family has become part of the Napier community. Their kids have settled into schools. This family would continue to work hard and contribute to the economy and their community.

“The Government’s immigration policies are so bad that it has become all too common to see cases like this have to go to the media to get a resolution. It shouldn’t have to come to this.

“Napier MP Stuart Nash has provided letters in support of the family but his own Government might be the reason they have to leave. The case is currently with Associate Minister Twyford, and we’ll soon find out if he can see the forest for the trees. If not, Minister Faafoi should step in and grant residency to the family.

“ACT is calling for this visa to be overhauled to reflect the reality of doing business, not just in a pandemic, so that New Zealand becomes an attractive place for entrepreneurs to settle, realise their dreams, and grow the economy.”

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