13 Jun 2014

Mother's deportation deadline looms

6:44 am on 13 June 2014

A British woman who came to New Zealand in 2011 may be forced to leave the country without her children when her visa expires on Tuesday.

Rachel Carter came to New Zealand on her husband's visa but because her marriage has ended and her work visa expires on 16 June she can no longer stay.

The Family Court in Christchurch has awarded the parents joint custody of the children, and has ruled the six-year-old and four-year-old are 'habitually resident' of New Zealand and withheld their passports.

But Ms Carter said she had not consent for that habitual resident status and is now in a situation where the Family Court is stopping her taking her children back to Britain.

The 36-year-old said she did not not want to apply for an extension to her work visa because that was not a permanent solution.

Dean of Canterbury University's law school, Chris Gallavin, said that option was better than being deported without her children. "That might sound very harsh, but the reality is, if she doesn't get an extension of the visa then she might find herself on a plane leaving the country with little opportunity to come back."