The Government has introduced an Amendment to the Immigration Act 2009 to address the risk of a mass arrival of “illegal immigrants”. Although the Explanatory Note asserts that the Bill “contains a range of measures to enhance New Zealand’s ability to deter people smuggling”, the legislation is not concerned with the imposition of sanctions against people smugglers or illegal immigration but rather about imposing discriminatory conditions on refugee claimants who arrive as part of a group. It does this by introducing a detention regime and enabling other policy changes which apply only to this group.
The Bill was referred to select committee and submissions closed on 9 June 2012.
Given the significance of the changes and the overwhelming response from the refugee and immigration sector both domestically and internationally, it is hoped that the Committee will allow adequate time to hear all submitters who wish to appear before it.
The Committee is due to report back on 10 September 2012.