Ivett Kerekes and Andras Laszlo and Ivett Kerekes with their sons Szilard, left, Andor, right, and Gergo, front. Photo / David Haxton
An extremely hardworking Hungarian family, contributing a lot to the Kāpiti community, is devastated after having their residency visa application declined.
Couple Ivett Kerekes and Andras Laszlo and their sons Andor, Szilard and Gergo arrived in New Zealand from Hungary six years ago under an entrepreneur’s visa.
The family wanted to set up a meat and dairy product export production business to European markets but their plan didn’t go as expected as supply chains shrunk when an open trade policy with China began and wasn’t helped later on when Covid-19 created chaos around the world.
To carry on and make money, they started the popular Hungarian themed restaurant called Anzil while distributing quality dairy and dried meats to local farmers’ markets.
They also bought the PartyPerfect Catering business which has been very successful.
“All of these enterprises have been successful and achieved through hard work,” Ivett said.
The entrepreneur’s visa wasn’t renewed but changed to a special purpose work visa as they tried to keep up with various requirements.
Meanwhile, they worked towards gaining New Zealand residency but on November 28 their application was declined, meaning they have 42 days to present their case to a tribunal which would determine whether they can stay in New Zealand or not.
“Our family are heartbroken, we have worked hard, paid tax and we love this country, and this action is simply not fair.”
She said the residency application was declined for three reasons.
“The first was that we didn’t invest enough money, which we had, then there was the profitability of the business, and the third was the consistency of the business plan.”
Kerekes said they had dealt with seven different Immigration New Zealand case officers.
“Each time it took us back to the start, answering the same set of questions.
“We have been lost in the labyrinth of immigration.”
Kerekes said the couple’s 7-year-old son Gergo came to her and said “do you think they believe we’re not good enough?”.
“It was such a simple sentence, but maybe it is what they think.
“I don’t know how to convince them.”
She said although the export side of the business plan hadn’t worked out, everything else had.
The family was also confused, especially as so many immigrants had been granted residency in New Zealand.
She said the entrepreneur’s visa was very inflexible and should be cancelled.
Thousands of people on social media have rallied to support the family by signing a petition to support their residency battle and prove the family’s work was viable and needed.
The ministry will respond once it receives a privacy waiver from the family.