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New powers for Immigration officers to protect New Zealand's border

Wednesday 5 September 2012, 3:55AM

By Nathan Guy

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Immigration New Zealand officers have a range of new powers coming into effect today which will help protect the integrity of our border, says Immigration Minister Nathan Guy.

“Compliance officers now have increased powers to search at the border, and the ability to detain people liable for deportation for a limited period of time.

“They also have the power to obtain biometric information like fingerprints, and greater access to the records of education providers.

“These changes will allow immigration officers to effectively enforce the Immigration Act and reduce their reliance on other agencies like the Police. It gives them similar powers to agencies like New Zealand Customs and Fisheries officers.

“This will allow officers to act quickly on information they receive to deport people who are in the country illegally.

“I’ve seen for myself the rigorous training that officers have undergone at the Royal New Zealand Police College in preparation for the introduction of these new powers. This has included methods of safe detention, driver training, risk and conflict management, and first aid.”

Last year the Compliance Operations team undertook 843 site visits to horticultural areas, educational institutes, workplaces and residential addresses to ensure the Immigration Act is being followed.

They also assisted with 1410 voluntary departures, served 1332 deportation liability notices and affected 742 deportations in 2011/2012.