26 February 2009

Hundreds of Iraqis get special Australian visa

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The Australian Government has granted around 400 Iraq nationals a special visa class to allow them to move to Australia, reports ABC News.

The special visa for Australia has been created for those Iraqis who helped the Australian Defence Forces as interpreters and guides when on the ground in Iraq.

Apparently, 600 Iraqis helped the Australian Government as drivers and interpreters, and Peter Hughes from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) says there are various reasons as to why only 400 people have put in their special Australian visa application.

"Whether the people wanted to take up the offer, because obviously some people would be happy to remain where they live and not necessarily take up the risk," he said.

"So it was always an estimate and at this stage, a bit over 400 people have taken up the offer."

Although some have already returned to Iraq, the new visa holders have the right to remain in Australia indefinitely, and the possibility of eventually becoming Australian citizens.

"They're very welcome in Australia and I'm sure will make very fine citizens in due course," Hughes added.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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