Overstaying Malaysian boss vows to keep fighting

Published:  15 Mar at 6 PM
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Malaysian owner of a construction business Chang Yee Seng had overstayed for 10 years before Immigration New Zealand tracked him down.

Chang arrived in New Zealand in 2003 on a visitor visa, and is claiming he became an overstayer due to incorrect immigration advice. His construction business, Reaplite Industries, employed two subcontractors and six full–time workers and, according to Chang, has paid taxes over the seven years of its operation to the tune of NZ$100,000 per year.

Chang is claiming he had not been asked to declare his visa status when he set up his business, and had decided to stay in New Zealand because he fell in love with the country. He insists he had no intention of breaking the law, and is fighting to stay in order that his workers will not face redundancy.

Chang’s original immigration advisor is facing charges of providing advice without a license, with the case due to be heard at Auckland District Court. Chang is due to be deported after an appeal was rejected by the then Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson.

His lawyer is lodging a second appeal, but immigration officers are standing firm, with present Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse stating that employing workers does not constitute a reason for overstaying a visa. The migrant workers’ union, Unimeg, is taking the opposite view, saying that deporting overstayers who are also employers is putting innocent workers out of a job and calling for an accreditation system to ensure the legality and competence of business start-up entrepreneurs.
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