The owners of a restaurant in St Heliers which had a turnover of $1.6 million last year and employs 26 staff have been denied residency because the business does not add significant benefit to New Zealand, according to immigration officials.
La Vista owners Nataliya Shchetkova and her husband Alex Derecha fear their family will now be forced to sell up and leave when their visa expires in six months.
The couple came to New Zealand in 2013 with their three children, to buy a fine dining restaurant. Shchetkova gave birth to twins a few months later.
Nataliya Shchetkova told Mike Hosking they first came to New Zealand on a Long Term Business Visa and were planning to buy a fine dining restaurant.
However, she said by the time the family arrived, the restaurant had been sold.
Conditions of the LTBV were that they supply a detailed plan of the business they would buy and operate. It must be worth at least $500,000, must turn a profit and employ at least three fulltime workers.
Shchetkova said she submitted a detailed business plan to take over a 140-seat French restaurant but due to the long wait for the visa, it had sold.
She said she informed Immigration New Zealand that restaurant had been sold and they had instead bought La Vista, a 46-seat Spanish restaurant, for $700,000.
"We informed the immigration department that we bought a different business, which has fewer seats and less turnover and we are going to make a new goal.
"We got an answer from the immigration officer [who said] that's alright just provide a new number that you're going to reach."
Shchetkova said the family didn't make a new business plan because the immigration officer told them they didn't need to.