New Zealand changes immigration rules to deal with boat arrivals
The New Zealand government has introduced a new immigration law aimed at deterring the mass arrival of illegals by boat. Rather than needing individual warrants to detain asylum seekers, officials will now be able to deal with mass arrivals by way of group warrants, immigration minister Nathan Guy announced today.
Mr Guy said the country needs to be prepared as the dangers of mass illegal arrivals have been highlighted recent by events in Darwin. He added that when identities of arrivals are in doubt, immigration officials will now be able to put the vast amount of paperwork aside and deal with any immediate security risks.
Mr Guy told the press that the new measures will not reward people traffickers and queue jumpers while still letting genuine refugees through. The minister said there was a danger with the previous method that NZ would be seen as a soft touch.
Any refugees will now have their status reassessed after three years. If they are granted permanent residence, they will then be able to apply to sponsor their immediate family members to join them. Under new reunification rules, however, extended family members will not be permitted.
Mr Guy stressed that people with a genuine claim for refugee status will still be able to apply through the correct channels, but that boat loads of “queue jumpers” will no longer be tolerated. The country accepts up to 750 refugees a year.
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