30 January 2012

Aussie criminals fool New Zealand immigration checks

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Australian migrants with histories of crimes including drug dealing, rape and violent crimes have managed to con their way through New Zealand immigration processes and continue their criminal careers.

New Zealand visa

The lacking flow of information between Australia and New Zealand has seen criminals slip through to both countries.

New Zealand immigration figures show that more Australians than any other nationality were deported from the country between 2006 and 2010.

While Australian citizens don't require a New Zealand visa to visit the country, they do need a valid passport and to be of 'good character' to enter the country. The application requires applicants to state whether they have previous convictions, charges or were ever under investigation in their native countries.

However, reports of Australian criminals being convicted of attempted murder, rape and murder in New Zealand, despite already having similar convictions in their native Australia has raised concerns about the immigration process.

A spokesperson for the Immigration Operations Support defended the immigration process and reported that almost 2.5 million Australians make the trip to New Zealand each year and these reports represent a tiny proportion.

The spokesperson said their checks were reliant on criminal records and blamed the few cases of criminals making it to New Zealand on a lack of access to full criminal records for every country.

These reports come just shortly after similar news of Kiwi criminals bypassing Australian visa checks and managing to commit further crimes in Australia.

This lack in communication between the two nations has prompted talks between Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key who have announced improved access to each other's criminal record databases.

The new access will be tested with a six month trial programme for Kiwis wanting to work in Australia. However, if the test is successful it is hoped the scheme will be rolled out across both countries.

"New Zealanders come here, Australian's go to New Zealand, so it makes sense to have this six month study to see how we can have a more automatic approach to sharing the kind of information that people want when they are vetting a new employee" said Ms Gillard.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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