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Iraqi students unable to continue studying in Georgia due to removal of residency status

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, Janaury 20
Iraqi students who studied at Kutaisi Akaki Tsereteli State University (ATSU) have still not had their residency status reinstated.

About 10 Iraqi students received notification from the government of Georgia that due to issues of national security, their residence permits had been revoked as of December 25.

“They only told us that it is dangerous that we are in Georgia. We never had any problems, even a fine, anything which could be a legitimate reason to revoke our permits,” said one of the students.

With the residency permits’ cancellation, the status of the students was automatically revoked for all ten of them. They asked for help from the ATSU administration.

Deputy Rector at ATSU, Shalva Kirtadze, said the university did everything to help the students.

“We gave the relevant bodies our assessment of the students and documents describing their education,” he said.

The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Tamar Sanikidze, said that the Iraqi students had had their residency permits revoked because they did not comply with the legal requirements to remain in Georgia.

According to Sanikidze, she did not have any information about the security risk the students were told they pose to the country, because the structure that cancelled the status has no obligation for reporting the reasons to theMinistry of Education.

“They had to go through certain procedures of security checks, which are also described in national legislation. If they have some additional documents to submit in order to receive a residency permit, they will have this opportunity as well,” stressed Sanikize.

Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiania recommended that the students appeal the decision in court.

“The relevant government bodies estimated the risks and made a decision. They probably saw something in the documentation. However, those students still have time to appeal the decision,” state Tsulukiani.

The students plan to keep protesting until they receive the necessary documentation that will allow them to remain in Georgia.

“We are not dangerous. We will launch a protest from now on. We won’t attend lectures until the university helps us. We are on the third part of our course right now, and if we hadn’t been dangerous before, we don’t understand why we are being considered so now,” said one of the students.

The students have time to leave Georgia until the end of the month.