Newsflash: NZ Immigration To Blitz Arabs From 10pm Tonight
By Kevin List and Selwyn Manning.
New Zealand Immigration officials will spark a nationwide investigation tonight targeting Arabs from Iraq and Jordan. The operation will target those who hold visitor’s permits, asylum seekers who have lodged refugee applications, even those who have been granted refugee status and including permanent residents will be under investigation.
The Immigration task force will sift through official documentation examining details that may indicate concerns relating to an immigrant’s past and associations with oppressive regimes such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Jordan.
Scoop understands the operation will involve other agencies including the Police and Security Intelligence Service.
A general indicator for further investigation will be immigrants and visitors of Arab ethnicity. Those from Iraq and Jordan will be first on the investigation list followed by other Arab nations and those from the Middle East.
Immigration officials say the task force will eventually track through records of visitors and residents from 54 nations of concern. New Zealand Immigration will not confirm which countries make up the list, but Scoop understands it includes Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and, Zimbabwe (New Zealand accepted over 2000 immigrants from Zimbabwe in 2004).
Department of Labour deputy secretary Maryanne Thompson said tonight New Zealand Immigration’s offshore bureaus have been instructed to hand over to Wellington all immigration and visitor applications.
The move displays a lack of confidence in the operation and management of immigration offices overseas – the Bangkok branch has already been identified as having failed to identify a former official of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
More to come…