Call for New Zealand immigration gaffe repercussions
The leader of New Zealand First has called for repercussions after the revelation that an illegal immigrant was still receiving sickness benefit despite being banned from the country. Winston Peters said that heads should roll after Salam Mansoor Abdelabbas Al-Bawi continued to be paid $360 a week, despite being charged with immigration crimes.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the Iraqi national admitted lying to authorities in order to get a passport in another name, citizenship, residency and refugee status. He also failed to declare that he had a conviction for kidnapping and is now a legal resident of Denmark.
Mr Peters is calling for an investigation into the gaffe and for those at the top to be fired. He added that although most other first-world countries seem to manage, New Zealand has failed to administer a system that is anything other than a complete mess.
The country’s Work and Income department were apparently not informed when Al-Bawi's passport and New Zealand citizenship had been revoked. Officials say, however, that there was only an overpayment of $2,500.
Work and Income spokeswoman Janet Grossman said they are looking into the matter with the help of Immigration New Zealand and the Department of Internal Affairs. She added that they would pursue Al-Bawi for the money if he ever returns to the country.
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