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PM Backs Decision To Revoke Saddam Official’s Visa

PM Backs Decision To Revoke Saddam Official’s Visa

By The Scoop Media Team

The Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the Immigration Minister and Labour Department’s decision to revoke the visa of a former Iraqi diplomat was correct.

Scoop understands the Iraqi man who has had his visitor’s visa revoked along with his wife has not broken any New Zealand laws.

Helen Clark said it came to the attention of the Minister of Immigration and the Department of Labour that the man was formerly a member of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The Minister of Immigration today revoked his visa and Helen Clark said this afternoon that in her view this was the correct decision to be made.

It is understood that the man decided to visit New Zealand to visit family and that he has not applied for refugee status.

Earlier today Immigration Minister Paul Swain said the man and his wife entered the country last year to visit family and they later applied for residence. Mr Swain said the Labour Department's move to revoke the man’s visitor’s visa followed allegations last week that a minister in Saddam Hussein’s government was in New Zealand and had applied for refugee status.

Inquiries found that this indeed was the case.

“The department tells me that no such application has been lodged. However, I instructed the department to investigate further. Details of the diplomat's background were discovered during the course of these investigations,” Paul Swain said.

Mr Swain said the man was unsuitable to remain in New Zealand for the following reasons:

- He had a role in Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime
- The nature of his residency application and its resulting low priority means it would not have been processed in the foreseeable future.

"Taking these factors into account, this man is not someone who should remain in New Zealand and his permit has been revoked. The couple will be obliged to leave the country as soon as possible," Mr Swain said. "This case has highlighted some shortcomings in the department's information systems. I have been assured that these systems will be strengthened through improved use of client information records (known as AMS)."

© Scoop Media

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