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Andrew Hind, a 45-year-old British-Australian, won a battle against Australian immigration officials after being told he was living in the country “unlawfully”
Andrew Hind, a 45-year-old company director, was blocked from renewing his Australian passport earlier this year and was reportedly informed that his citizenship was being cancelled because he had been born in New Guinea, rather than Papua New Guinea.
Mr Hind was born to English parents in the Papua New Guinean city of Lae and later migrated to Australia.
When he applied for citizenship in 1993, he was told he was already considered an Australian citizen because Papua New Guinea was an Australian territory at the time of his birth; the territory gained independence in 1975.
But officials this year told Mr Hind that he “was provided incorrect advice in 1993″ and has been living “unlawfully” in Australia for more than two decades.
“I thought it was a wind up, I thought someone was having fun with me,” he told Fairfax Media.
“It was disbelief initially. I was being told I was an unlawful resident in the country that has been my home as long as I can remember.”
Mr Hind eventually had the decision reversed and was allowed to remain in Australia after meeting with immigration officials in Melbourne, though officials in Canberra were reportedly unhappy with the result.
“It was an incredibly stressful period, I had trouble sleeping, I couldn’t focus on anything else until I at least established that I’d be able to stay in the country,” Mr Hind said.
“I felt like I was being treated like a criminal… The [Melbourne officials] were almost bending over backwards to undo what their colleagues in Canberra had done. It felt like an episode of Yes Minister.”
An immigration department spokesman said the government “regretted” that Mr Hind was provided incorrect advice in 1993.
Australia has toughened its immigration procedures in the past year, including deporting foreign citizens who have served prison sentences of 12 months or more. This has led to hundreds of New Zealanders being deported – a move which prompted a furious response from New Zealand’s government.
Australian officials denied that the treatment of Mr Hind was due to a “crack-down” on dual nationals.
The government has not yet responded to The Telegraph’s request for comment.