Year of setbacks sours family's dream Kiwi life
By Lincoln Tan
4:00 AM Tuesday Jan 19, 2010

Moving to New Zealand last year after obtaining a work-to-residence visa, Filipina accountant Lourdes Sarmiento thought she would be starting a dream new life.

Instead, she has faced numerous setbacks after being unable to find a job, even with a three-month extension to her initial three-month visa and sending out hundreds of applications.

Ms Sarmiento also found out late last year that flood had severely damaged her house in the Philippines, and she has nothing to return to.

Now on a visitor's visa, the 44-year-old former cruise ship chief accountant is unable to pay international fees for her two sons, Azil Dominiku, 14 and Alexis Dominic, 6, to go to school.

"I feel like I have really let my children down," Ms Sarmiento said.

"We moved to New Zealand because we wanted them to have a better life. Instead they don't even have a school to go to when the term starts next month."

Ms Sarmiento is one of several migrants who have watched their dream turn into a nightmare.

It looked so much different before she arrived. The Immigration New Zealand website said plenty of jobs were available, and her skills were on the shortage list.

More here.