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Biometric boost for border security

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Immigration

19 October 2011

Biometric boost for border security

Extending the use of biometrics will strengthen New Zealand’s border security and enable Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to speed up visa application processing, says Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman.

‘’Biometrics provides better tools which allow Immigration to confirm an individual’s identity and protect New Zealand’s border,’’ Dr Coleman says.

From tomorrow INZ will have the ability to store photos of all non-New Zealanders and extend the powers to require fingerprints in some circumstances. Governments around the world are increasingly using biometrics to complement identity checks.

‘‘The changes will protect people from identity theft and prevent the misuse of passports or visas by fraudsters and criminals. A further benefit is that the new technology will speed up visa application processing, as we are more readily able to confirm who we’re dealing with.’’

New Zealand is part of a Five Country Conference biometric programme involving the immigration agencies of New Zealand, Canada the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. This enables the various agencies to share biometric data to help confirm identities.

All biometrics are handled with strict rules around access of data. A privacy impact assessment has been conducted in close consultation with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and is publicly available on INZ’s website, www.immigration.govt.nz.

ENDS

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