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St Patricks Palmerston North Assists Asylum Seekers

Rose and Joseph were originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo where French is the official language. Their separate journeys started years earlier after both witnessed terrible violence and abuse by government and armed forces. 

Both moved to South Africa where they met and married. Joseph was a victim in an armed robbery when the supermarket he was working for was held up. Plans were made to emigrate to New Zealand which was viewed as a safe haven. In May 2015 they arrived as asylum seekers and were granted temporary NZ residence and Congolese in NZ brought them to Palmerston North.

When Rose visited the Society’s shop in May 2015 assistance started by supplying basics for living in a converted cold garage and WINZ helped with finance. Society’s volunteers often provided transport to their work. 

By mid 2016 new employment presented and they moved into an elevated warm house. This was achieved with help from Society.  The new positions were casual on call with variable days and hours but life became more bearable. At this time as well as working they were visiting an Auckland law firm preparing applications for NZ Residency. A Society member drove them to Auckland in October 2016 for their residency applications which was  presented over 2 days to the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal, sadly these applications were declined but two appeals were allowed, one to be based on humanitarian grounds and had to be lodged in very short time. Preparation for the humanitarian appeal began in earnest. The appeal evidence was submitted by end of November 2016 and at the end of January 2017 Rose and Joseph received great news, the appeals were successful with both granted New Zealand residency.

In January 2017 a Society member gave driving lessons, Rose passed the learners stage and is ready to be tested for her restricted licence, Joseph made rapid progress and already has qualified for a full car licence.  Their lives are now settled and both have been 2 years working the same casual on-call employment, they would love to be offered permanent positions.  Their English has greatly improved. Society members from the Palmerston North St Patricks Conference have become good friends with Rose and Joseph and continue to give them support.