It took thousands of signatures and lobbying from both the mayor and MP, but Queenstowner Juliana Costa’s finally learned she’ll be allowed to return to New Zealand.
And it’s fair to say she’s pretty happy.
“I’m delighted that I will have the chance to go back to NZ, live with my husband and go ahead with our dreams,” she tells
Earlier this month, Costa and her husband, Armindo Machado Junior, returned to their native Brazil for what was supposed to be a holiday.
But with Costa’s immigration status up in the air, she was unsure when she’d be able to return to Queenstown.
She learned in March that her working visa would not be renewed, leading her to start a petition for her case to be reviewed so she could apply for a medical waiver.
That petition reached more than 8000 signatures.
This week she learned she’s been granted a 24-month working visa, and will have the opportunity to apply for a partnership visa when Machado Junior becomes eligible.
Costa’s been active in fundraising for the Cancer Society ever since she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
“I have plans to keep helping the community whenever I can, and we are going to start to organise the second Gratitude Music Festival to help raise money for the Cancer Society.”
She also wants to thank everyone who supported the pair.
Both Queenstown mayor Jim Boult and Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker wrote to the government, calling for Costa to be allowed to stay.
Walker, who lobbied the Immigration Minister and asked him to intervene, says he’s “absolutely thrilled” by the decision.
“Like many people who come from overseas and make Queenstown home, they contribute a huge amount to our community and we are very lucky to have them.”