Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek has now obtained a passport in his real identity – that could see him try to apply for residency again.
However, the significance of the travel document depends on the outcome of Sroubek’s appeal to the Immigration Protection Tribunal (IPT).
It is unclear what grounds Sroubek, who is an excluded person and subject to deportation liability, is appealing.
According to the Immigration Act, there are no grounds if the minister or an immigration officer refuses to grant residence to an excluded person.
In November Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway determined Sroubek was liable for deportation because a visa was granted in error, after information was omitted from a file that showed he was an excluded person.
In his original decision, to grant Sroubek residency, the minister imposed conditions that included presenting Immigration New Zealand (INZ) with appropriate documents, including a valid travel document in his real name.
Sroubek’s lawyer Paul Wicks said his client’s right of appeal arose out of the fact that he was granted permanent residency and had met the conditions set out in the minister’s letter – that included getting a valid passport.
He would not comment on what the passport would mean for his case.
He confirmed he had filed an appeal with the IPT, which was going through the preliminary procedures, towards getting an appeal fixture.
It was subject to any issues that might be raised either by his client or by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Mbie) on behalf of the minister, he said.
Industry experts say Sroubek’s passport is significant, particularly if his appeal is successful.
If Sroubek’s IPT appeal was successful and he was granted a residence visa in his real name, then he would legally be in New Zealand under his true identity.
If he did not hold residency in his true identity and his IPT appeal was successful, then he would still only be in New Zealand under the false name of Yan Antolik.
It’s not clear if he would have to make a full residency application or simply present his passport to INZ – as stated in the minister’s original decision letter.
INZ general manager Stephen Dunstan said it was understood that Sroubek had obtained a travel document in his true identity, however he had yet to provide it to an office of INZ with the appropriate paperwork in order to have the grant of residence considered.
It was also not for INZ to clarify or confirm who issued the travel document, he said.
“INZ is unable to comment on any aspects relating to Sroubek’s appeal, including whether or not he has a right of appeal, while his case is before the IPT.”
Consulate General of the Czech Republic Hana Flanderová confirmed Sroubek had been issued a “personal document”.
This did not influence the process in terms of deportation/extradition, which still had not been requested, she said.
A passport in Sroubek’s true identity will be good news for New Zealand authorities who will require a valid travel document for him to leave the country.
Sroubek used a friend’s passport to flee his home country, arriving in New Zealand in 2003, under the false name Jan Antolik. He later claimed the identity was because he witnessed a murder in the Czech Republic. The kickboxing champion used the false identity to gain residence in 2008 under the sports talent category.