NZ Immigration officers given new powers to protect borders
New Zealand immigration officers have been given a new set of powers which will reduce their dependence on police and other agencies.
Immigration Minister Nathan Guy announced that compliance officers will now be able to conduct searches at border posts and detain those awaiting deportation for at least a limited time. They can also obtain biometric fingerprint data and have been granted greater access to overseas students’ records held by education providers.
According to the minister, the changes will allow officers to enforce the immigration act more effectively and reduce their reliance on other government agencies and the police. He states that officers will have the freedom to act quickly on information of the whereabouts of illegal immigrants and enable them to deport offenders.
The changes give immigration officers similar powers to those held by New Zealand Customs and Fisheries officers. Guy noted that the training of immigration officers in their new roles, given at the Royal New Zealand Police College, has been rigorous and detailed.
The courses were planned to include driver training, methods of safe detention and conflict and risk management. Officers’ new skills will be used on visits to educational institutes, workplaces, residential addresses and agricultural areas as well as in deportations, voluntary departures and the issuing of deportation notices.
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