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Immigrant Character Screening Failing NZers

Media Release

21 February 2008

Immigrant Character Screening Failing New Zealanders

Character screening is failing to protect New Zealanders from criminal migrants, says New Zealand First associate immigration spokesperson Peter Brown.

Figures obtained from the Department of Corrections show nearly 400 immigrants are in jail for violent offending after recently arriving in New Zealand.

“It is shocking that so many people can be declared to be of ‘good character’ by the Immigration Service upon their arrival in New Zealand, only to commit serious offences shortly after arrival. By their actions they are clearly not of good character,” said Mr Brown

“The Immigration Service must improve its screening to weed out those migrants who are not of good character.

“While increased screening is necessary, further safeguards must be put in place to ensure those who offend after arrival can be removed from New Zealand.

“It is time the Government introduced a probationary period for immigrants whereby any serious crime committed before obtaining citizenship would result in automatic deportation.

“Taking such actions will encourage migrants to take stock of NZ’s values, which, to our mind, are worth defending,” said Mr Brown.


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