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Here to help . . . The Regions Immigration Law and Recruitment immigration adviser Dexter Navarro specialises in working with dairy farming staff new to New Zealand. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

A new immigration consultancy has opened in Oamaru – just in time for a public seminar next week.

Dexter Navarro is the licensed immigration adviser at the Oamaru branch of The Regions Immigration and Law Recruitment. The business, established in Hamilton by Benjamin and Patricia De’Ath, is now expanding into the South Island.

An Ashburton branch was set up last year and the Oamaru branch opened recently in Thames St.

Mr Navarro said the need for its services had expanded because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and if it went well he hoped to be here for the long term.

He was “taking it slow” in getting to know prospective clients in North Otago. He already knew other Filipino immigrants here, who had introduced him to more people.

The new information and rules being released by Immigration New Zealand every month meant he had to continue to study the situation as it changed according to Covid-19 protocols.

Zealand from the Philippines’ capital city, Manila, in late 2018. His wife, a food technologist, had gained a visa in the skilled migrant category.

Mr Navarro, a licensed lawyer in the Philippines, worked in health insurance for nearly 14 years and had been a part-time professor teaching criminal law.

He has been approved to sit bar exams to be able to practise law in New Zealand, and has been studying through distance learning for a master of resource and environmental planning degree from Massey University.

In Blenheim, he was an administrator at the Wairau Hospital and at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

The family moved south for Mr Navarro’s job with The Regions. They live in Waimate – halfway between his Oamaru office and his wife’s new position as technical manager at the Alliance Group’s Smithfield meat processing plant.

Their 6-year-old daughter attends St Joseph’s School in Oamaru and the family attends St Patrick’s Church in Waimate.

Mr Navarro believed his own experience of moving to a new country made it easier for clients to relate to him, and vice versa.

“We’ve had the very same struggles.”

Mr Navarro will be one of three immigration advisers speaking at a free seminar at the Blind Foundation Hall at 5.30pm on Wednesday, September 30.

Waitaki Newcomers Network co-ordinator Christine Dorsey has organised the meeting to discuss how Covid-19 has affected local people.