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Iranian film director granted a visa

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/04/2016
Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami © Getty Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami

Immigration New Zealand has changed its mind and decided to grant a visitor visa to Iranian film director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami.

She's been invited here to attend a film festival, and was turned down when she applied for a visa at the consulate in Washington.

Festival organisers were up in arms about that and asked Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse to intervene.

The application was reviewed and on Wednesday Immigration NZ said in light of that, and after receiving more information from Ghaemmaghami, it had decided to grant her a visa.

"INZ would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and is pleased the matter has been resolved in time for Ms Ghaemmaghami's intended travel plans," said area manager Michael Carley.

She's coming here to attend the Doc Edge documentary film festival which runs in Wellington and Auckland from May 4 to 29.

Ms Ghaemmaghami is based in Tehran and was travelling in the United States when she applied for a visa.

"They wrote me a letter saying that because they are not sure that I won't stay in New Zealand forever, they can't grant me a visa," she said.

"They told me that I don't have enough financial and family ties in my own country."

Festival organisers Dan Shanan and Alex Lee wrote to Mr Woodhouse outlining Ghaemmaghami's international successes and her reputation.

Her film Sonita, about an Afghan girl refugee, is a feature of the film festival.

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