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Robert Jovicic granted permanent residency -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: The controversial case of Robert Jovicic, who was deported to Serbia four years
ago, has finally been resolved.

Despite living in Australia since he was two years old, Robert Jovicic was kicked out of the
country in June 2004. He was deported to Serbia after he was jailed for committing a string of
burglaries.

He'd never lived in Serbia and he ended up sleeping on the steps of the Australian Embassy in
Belgrade.

But now the Federal Immigration Minister has granted Mr Jovicic permanent residency.

Lindy Kerin reports.

LINDY KERIN: Robert Jovicic came to Australia with his parents in 1968, when he was two years old.

He'd only been to Serbia once.

But after he was jailed for a string of burglaries to support a heroin addiction, he was deported
from Australia on character grounds.

Mr Jovicic was unable to speak the language.

He became ill and was reduced to sleeping on the streets of Belgrade.

After revelations of his case on the ABC's Lateline program, he was allowed to return to Australia
on compassionate grounds but was only given on two year temporary visa.

Last year he told the AM program he was still living in limbo.

ROBERT JOVICIC: There's no clear outline at the end of those two years indicating in any certain
terms where my future might lie.

My life's still been placed on hold.

I can't engage in really any meaningful relationships, especially on a long-term basis because my
future is so undecided.

LINDY KERIN: Last night the Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced Mr Jovicic had been granted
a permanent visa.

Mr Jovicic's friend and spokesman Ross Waraker, says they're surprised by the news.

ROSS WARAKER: It's a wonderful surprise and I'm just very, very relieved that this is finally over.
And again it's very strange the way it's just come up so quickly and we didn't really even have to
fight for it in the end, which we were expecting to have to perhaps do.

LINDY KERIN: Have you spoken to Robert about it? What has he said to you?

ROSS WARRAKER: We're not even sure he knows to be honest. He left yesterday lunch time to go on a
yoga retreat on the south coast and we're having some problems with the communication with him.

So, the Department were chasing him yesterday afternoon and we were in a position where we couldn't
even guarantee them contact with him. So we haven't heard either way whether he even knows.

LINDY KERIN: The Immigration Minister says the case of Robert Jovicic was one of a number of
regrettable immigration matters the new Government is rectifying.

Since it was elected, the Labor Government has moved 82 Sri Lankans and seven Burmese asylum
seekers from Nauru and has also given permanent residency to Tony Tran, who was wrongly detained
for five years.

And earlier this week the Government settled the compensation case of Australian resident Cornelia
Rau, who was wrongly detained for 10 months.

It's unclear whether Mr Jovicic will pursue similar legal action against the Federal Government.

Ross Waraker says that's never been his friend's objective.

ROSS WARAKER: Robert's primary goal has always been just to return to Australia safely and
long-term and at this point I know that he will just be grateful that he's back and I've never
heard him use the word compensation.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Robert Jovicic's friend and spokesman Ross Waraker ending Lindy Kerin's report.