Juliet Garcia's employer has made one last plea to Immigration NZ to renew her work visa so she can continue doing the job she has been doing for the last 10 years.
Ms Garcia, whose visa has been renewed annually for the last nine years, was last week given 48 hours to leave New Zealand, after which she would be in jeopardy of deportation (Two days to get out, April 11).
Switzer Residential Care general manager Jackie Simkins has asked Immigration NZ to reconsider, rejecting its apparent concern that insufficient effort had been made to replace her with a New Zealander.
"We had thought that by advertising the position with Work and Income New Zealand's National Framework and on Facebook, that we had met the criteria," Ms Simkins said.
"We also placed an advert on Trade Me on March 27 specifically looking for person who met the requirements of Ms Garcia's role. To date we have had 362 viewings, two enquiries and one application."
The applicant did not meet the job specifications, but would be interviewed for a health care assistant role, and, if successful, would begin the training to meet Ministry of Health standards.
"It will take some considerable time before a new employee can achieve the qualifications we require for a position of this nature," she added.
Meanwhile Ms Garcia now had the knowledge and skills needed to work in any part of the home, including the hospital and dementia units. She had completed the papers required to gain a Level 4 qualification in diversional therapy, which made her eligible to apply for residency under the skills list.
"The aged care industry has a significant level of legislative compliance to meet, and one of the requirements is the training and qualifications that our staff have to achieve," Ms Simkins said.
"No longer is it acceptable for staff to have experience alone, they must have auditable qualifications.
"We have a secure dementia unit where we care for 15 older people who require that level of care. The Ministry of Health requires that people who work in that unit have both experience and a qualification. Therefore we need to be able to retain those staff who have the essential skills and qualifications to be able to deliver a service at all.
"How can we as employers meet the Ministry of Health standards if we are not able to employ people with the qualifications we need to provide a high standard of care to the vulnerable older people we care for? It takes some considerable time, effort and funding to achieve the qualifications that are required, and which Ms Garcia has, to operate a residential care service."
In the event the decision to decline her visa was not reversed, Ms Simkins asked that Ms Garcia and her husband be granted visitors' visas, to at least give them time to settle their affairs and leave the country "with some dignity".