Immigration Minister Iain-Lees Galloway has taken a major U-turn in his decision to grant residency to a drug smuggler, announcing that Karel Sroubek is now liable for deportation upon his release from custody.
Mr Lees-Galloway told the press on Wednesday that new information was found in review of the Immigration NZ case, which included that Sroubek was convicted in the Czech Republic.
He says Immigration NZ didn’t know this because Sroubek arrived in New Zealand under a different name.
“I’m concerned that the file presented by Immigration NZ did not paint a complete picture,” said Mr Lees-Galloway.
He also said he has apologised to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over the handling of the matter.
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Originally from the Czech Republic, Sroubek fled to New Zealand in 2003 on a false passport.
In 2015 Sroubek was convicted of importing MDMA and jailed for almost six years. In 2009 he returned to the Czech Republic, despite implying there was a danger to his life in his home country.
The Immigration Minister granted Sroubek permanent residency in 2018.
Mr Lees-Galloway confirmed that Sroubek will be able to appeal saying that, "he has the option to appeal to the Immigration Tribunal on the grounds of facts and humanitarian grounds".