03 April 2009

Emigrating to New Zealand may soon involve biometrics

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Emigrating to New Zealand may take step into a new technological era of biometrics, reports Stuff.co.nz.

Screening measures for people emigrating to New Zealand have been under pressure since a Yemeni citizen was deported from New Zealand.  The man in question could not enter countries that held his biometric information because he has ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, yet emigrating to New Zealand was still an option after changing his name.

Immigration New Zealand is arguing that New Zealand needs to invest over $100 million into a biometric scheme so that further cases such as this can be prevented.  In countries which have biometric information capabilities, the strike rate for catching fraudulent migrants is significantly higher.  For example, while New Zealand has uncovered 316 cases of identity fraud over the past three years, Britain has detected more than 5,300.

The main aim of the biometric system is to catch fraudulent migrants emigrating to New Zealand before they reach the New Zealand border.  Unfortunately, the majority of fraudulent cases are discovered on New Zealand's shores. 

"At that stage, we would conduct our identity establishment work, which we do currently, but with the benefit of biometric decision-support tools," said identity programme manager Arron Baker.

"The journey to New Zealand continues and as passengers travel, check in and board, we are proposing to deploy mobile or wireless identity-verification capabilities at key control points on the journey. Finally, identity verification and biometric enrolment for first-time travellers is envisaged at the New Zealand border on arrival."

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to New Zealand.

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