Hope for Russian graduate with disability as INZ reconsiders decision to decline visa

Russian international student Evgenii Liapin has been given hope of getting a post-study work visa following a job offer as a social media manager.

Liapin, 26, was declined a work visa by Immigration New Zealand after he completed a graduate diploma public relations programme because he has Kueburg Welander disease, a form of muscular disorder, and has to move around in a wheelchair.

INZ said in the initial rejection that Liapin was not of an acceptable standard of health and deemed he was likely to impose significant costs and demands on New Zealand’s health system.

However, a spokeswoman for the agency told the Herald it was relooking at the decision made in relation to Liapin’s application.

“INZ has contacted Evgenii and invited him to apply for a reconsideration of this decision,” she said.

“As INZ is going to reconsider this visa application, we are unable to comment on the original decision at this time.”

Liapin said he was thrilled by the news and believes that he has much to contribute to New Zealand.

“INZ has gotten it so wrong saying I need a caregiver and all that, I can be independent and I am grateful that there are people out there who believe in me,” Liapin said.

He has been offered a casual social media manager position at Denim for Dogs Limited, a sustainability start-up based on the Kapiti Coast that turns discarded denims into dog toys.

The offer is subject to him obtaining legal rights to work here.

In the role, Liapin will manage the company’s social media accounts and develop and maintain relationships with suppliers, clients and stakeholders, according to the job description.

He will also be responsible to help drive sales and promotions for Denim for Dogs.

“I believe I have so much I can contribute, not just to this company, but also to New Zealand,” Liapin said.

“It is indeed good news that INZ is reconsidering its decision, I really hope they will give me a chance.”

Liapin is also fighting to get the visa so he can remain with his 26-year-old wife, Elizabeth Larina.

Larina is also from Russia and she has been granted a post-study work visa after graduating from Waikato University where she studied cellular and molecular biology.

Liapin described Larina as his companion and best friend.


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