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Wedding of convenience for overstayer

Wedding of convenience for overstayer

The most celebrated of New Zealand's 20,000 overstayers looks set to get a reprieve thanks to a last-minute dash down the aisle, says National's Immigration spokesman, Wayne Mapp.

Saied Ghanbari, New Zealand's 'most wanted' overstayer, surrendered to immigration officials last month after more than a year at large.

Mr Ghanbari was to be deported, but Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor is considering allowing him to stay in light of his 10-day-old marriage.

"This all seems a bit convenient," says Dr Mapp. "Last week, Mr Ghanbari was our most wanted overstayer and now we are celebrating his wedded bliss.

"Residency is a fairly over-the-top wedding present for a man already facing accusations of assault from a previous Kiwi partner. He hardly faces death upon return to Iran. Any notion of humanitarian concerns is just absurd."

The Immigration Service estimates there are at least 20,000 overstayers in New Zealand at any time.

"With a Government that is so soft on overstayers, our churches and celebrants had better brace themselves for an onslaught of hasty weddings," says Dr Mapp.

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