by Brad Crouch, adelaidenow:
Rob Pitt with his pregnant Russian girlfriend Natasha Zaydenberg at home in Paradise. She faces going home alone next month after immigration. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe Source: News Limited
AN Adelaide man is fighting to keep his pregnant Russian girlfriend in Australia but immigration officials have rejected her pregnancy as a reason for a visa extension.
Single father-of-two Robert Pitt, 38, from Paradise, and Russian national Natasha Zaydenberg, 36, plan to marry after a whirlwind romance that started in March but have been told that “pregnancy is no grounds for a waiver” on her three-month tourist visa.
Ms Zaydenberg arrived in Adelaide on March 10 with a visa to study English at UniSA to improve her skills as a manager of a Moscow restaurant chain.
The TR 676 visa stipulated “no further stay” as a condition, as well as “no work” and “limited study”.
Robert Pitt met her through an online dating site soon after her arrival and the couple hit it off, to the point where Ms Zaydenberg moved in with Mr Pitt and is now five weeks pregnant with her first child.
However, their application to waive the “no further stay” condition on her visa was rejected and Ms Zaydenberg must leave Australia by June 10 or face deportation.
She is booked to fly out to Moscow on Tuesday, leaving Mr Pitt heartbroken.
“She will go back with the prospect of being a pregnant single mother unable to support herself, when I want her to stay so we can get married and have our Australian child,” Mr Pitt said.
“My lawyer has told me it won’t make any difference if we get married as she still has to leave under this visa.
“My own two little girls Mia and Rori adore her and she loves them. I am now looking at the prospect of financial ruin so I can travel to Moscow and support both of us while trying to get a visa to bring her to Australia.
“It may seem a quick romance but we are absolutely legitimate. Natasha did not want to move in at first but I convinced her and now with a baby on the way we want to get married.”
Ms Zaydenberg is a widow from a previous marriage that broke down years ago, and her parents are divorced. She chose Adelaide to study because a friend lives here, and stayed with the friend in a city apartment before moving in with Mr Pitt, a form worker, whose own marriage broke down five years ago.
The application to change the visa was sought under legislation which allows conditions to be waived if “compelling and compassionate circumstances have developed over which the person has no control and that resulted in a major change to the person’s circumstances”.
In rejecting the application, Immigration officials noted “compelling circumstances are generally taken to refer to circumstances that are involuntary and are characterised by necessity such that the visa holder is faced with a situation in which there is little or no alternative but to seek to extend their stay in Australia”.
The letter of rejection also noted “Pregnancy in itself would not be grounds for a waiver.”
Immigration officials acknowledged a doctor’s letter stating “given her age and that she has had no prior children, it is advisable for her not to undertake any unnecessary air travel” but went on to say it had been determined Ms Zaydenberg did not face a situation where there was no alternative but to remain in Australia.
There is no right of review of the decision by the Migration Review Tribunal and under the Act, Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor has no discretion to intervene.
A department spokeswoman said: “Australian courts have found falling pregnant does not meet legislative grounds for waiving condition 8503 (no further stay). It is up to a client who is onshore and subject to condition 8503 to depart Australia and apply offshore for a visa which is appropriate for their circumstances.”
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