Czech man with fake New Zealand visa won't be deported

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 20 January 2012

Jan Antolik, real name Karel Sroubek, arrived in New Zealand in 2003 and presented New Zealand immigration officials with a fake passport.

A fake passport would usually lead to a criminal conviction and automatic deportation; however, Judge Roy Wade offered the 30-year-old the chance to remain in New Zealand in exchange for just 200 hours of community work.

He offered this privilege due to the circumstances which led to Mr Antolik presenting a fake passport.

Mr Antolik and his family had fled the Czech Republic after being threatened by two police officers who had wanted him to lie about the murder he had witnessed.

Instead of bowing to this pressure, Mr Antolik left a videotaped statement and fled the country with fake passport to avoid detection.

For six years, Mr Antolik managed to stay free from suspicion and forge a reputation as a talented kick boxer. However, in 2009, Czech police officers called Auckland detectives and informed them of his true identity.

He was arrested and found guilty in November 2011 by a jury of being in possession of a false passport and making false statements to New Zealand immigration authorities. This conviction would usually carry a prison sentence of up to two years and, in the case of foreign nationals, deportation.

In his defence, Mr Antolik, who has a New Zealand visa in that name, successfully persuaded Judge Wade that he had made a positive contribution to New Zealand society and that he may still face retribution if he were to be returned to the Czech Republic.

"I am satisfied that your initial false applications were as a result of doing the right thing, not the wrong thing" said Judge Ward in his ruling. "Furthermore, had you been frank with the authorities when you first came here, it seems plain that you would have been granted a work permit and ultimately, residence in any event on your own merits."

Mr Antolik will be discharged without conviction if he completes his 200 hours of community work before the 28th February but he warned Mr Antolik that this did not necessarily rule out the possibility of deportation.

"[A discharge without conviction] will give you a certain chance of being to argue your case on its merit and not run the risk of your being removed from this country without proper procedure and review".

A spokesperson for the New Zealand immigration authority said it was currently reviewing the liability of deporting Mr Antolik.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.