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Comprehensive immigration law one step closer

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Immigration

New immigration laws will make coming here easier for the migrants New Zealand wants and enhance border security against those we don't want, says Immigration Minister David Cunliffe.

Mr Cunliffe has unveiled a package of proposals for a new Immigration Act following public submissions and consultation on the Immigration Act Review discussion document issued in April.

"I am delighted with the package agreed to by the Cabinet, including changes from the discussion document proposals to reflect of the views of the public.

"There was significant public feedback, and proposals that have been modified to reflect the views of submitters include additional privacy and human rights safeguards and greater emphasis placed on the training of officers exercising new powers.

"It is an important part of New Zealand's economic transformation that we have a relevant, flexible and responsive immigration system built on strong legislation. I believe these changes to the act will deliver this.

"The changes provide the means to simplify and streamline the law to facilitate the entry of those migrants we want in New Zealand, and to enhance border security and tighten the law against those we don't want.

"This includes a simplified visa system, more flexible powers to enforce immigration law and the ability to collect and use biometric information.

"We will have a robust new international protection regime, a world-class independent appeals system and a model detention system that will uphold human rights and high standards of fairness.

"The world has changed since the current act was introduced in 1987, with competition for skills intensifying and new security issues arising. This legislation, as part of a wider change programme looking at immigration policy and our delivery of services, will ensure New Zealand stays ahead."

An Immigration Bill to replace the existing 1987 Act will now be drafted ready for introduction to Parliament in April 2007. The select committee stage will provide further opportunities for public input.

ENDS

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