Juliana’s visa fight up in the air

Armindo Machado Junior and Juliana Costa

A popular Queenstowner’s boarded a plane without knowing if she’ll be allowed to return to her husband, and her home.

Breast cancer survivor Juliana Costa is still awaiting a decision from the government as to whether she’ll be allowed to apply for a partnership visa.

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.

The Brazilian ex-pat flew back to Brazil on Wednesday with her husband, Armindo Machado, for what was supposed to be a holiday to visit family.

With her immigration status also up in the air, it could be several months before she’s allowed to return to New Zealand.

“It’s not easy, our life is here.” Costa says.

“It’s so stressful because it’s not in my hands, I just have to wait.”

Machado is likely to return to Queenstown in mid-June, to ensure they can keep their house and his job.

Costa says she’s been told the timeframe for a decision could be up to three months, and if she’s allowed to apply for a partnership visa, that could take another four months.

“I don’t feel good without him, I don’t like to think about it.”

The Queenstown community has rallied around Costa since her visa news was revealed.

As well as the petition, Mayor Jim Boult wrote to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway on her behalf.