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Former Iraqi diplomat's visitor's permit revoked

2 May 2005

Former Iraqi diplomat's visitor's permit revoked

The Department of Labour today revoked the visitor's permit of an Iraqi man who was a diplomat in Saddam Hussein’s government.

The man and his wife entered the country last year to visit family and they later applied for residence.

Immigration Minister Paul Swain said the department's moves followed allegations last week that a minister in Saddam Hussein’s government was in New Zealand and had applied for refugee status.

“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.”

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"Taking these factors into account, this man is not someone who should remain in New Zealand and his permit has been revoked.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)."


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