As the eight week operation to simulate asylum seeking boat arrivals continues in Adelaide, concerned opposition to the government's tough new stance on potential asylum seekers, a problem New Zealand has never had to cope with, is growing.
And while the government spends money preparing to tackle a problem which critics argue doesn't exist, Tongan immigrants within the country continue to be exploited and extorted for large sums of money, too afraid to speak up through fear of being deported.
New Zealand's Human Rights Commission has joined a growing number of voices who are concerned at the tough New Zealand immigration law intended to deter people smuggling...read more.
Shameless fraudsters are still reportedly targeting unsuspecting Tongans in New Zealand to illicit large sums on money from them with bogus promises....read more.
Human Rights Commission joins opposition of New Zealand immigration law
Opposition to the immigration
law is growing.
New Zealand's Human Rights Commission has joined a growing number of voices who are concerned at the tough New Zealand immigration law intended to deter people smuggling.
New Zealand immigration authorities announced recently a new bill which would allow them to detain 'mass arrivals' - 10 or more - of asylum seekers under a single arrest warrant.
The government maintain that the law is a necessary precaution to deter potential people smugglers but a growing number of charities and refugee advocates have condemned the law as discriminatory and pointless as the country's remoteness has meant that no asylum seeking boat has ever arrived there.
And now Joris de Bres of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission has told MPs that the law, the Immigration Amendment Bill, would breach refugees' human rights under international law.
"I find it hard to contemplate a situation in which we would accept the mandatory detention of whole groups of people in an army camp of elsewhere without any consideration of their individual circumstances," said Mr de Bres.
"Although their method of arrival on New Zealand's shores may be irregular they are not illegal. Under New Zealand and international law a person is entitled to make an application for asylum in another country when they allege they are escaping persecution."
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Tongans continue to fall victim to New Zealand visa scams
Immigration scamrs are
targeting Tongans for large
sums of money.
Shameless fraudsters are still reportedly targeting unsuspecting Tongans in New Zealand to illicit large sums on money from them with bogus promises.
Reports early last month claimed that large numbers Tongans were the victim of a scam which promised the victims a New Zealand visa for as little as NZ$300 (£150) and now fresh reports of a new scheme targeting the same community have raised concerns about the lack of assistance available to overstayers in the country.
When nearly 100 Tongans at Auckland Airport were told there were no flight tickets to Tonga waiting for them, it emerged that each of them had paid a dishonest immigration adviser NZ$250 (£128) each for a flight.
Some have expressed concern about the ongoing targeting of Tongan communities but claim that as many were illegally in New Zealand, they were reluctant to lodge a complaint through fear of being deported.
"What safeguards are there for them? They are overstaying and breaking the law but if they are being cheated there needs to be a system that protects them if they come forward," said Amelia Schaaf, a Tongan community advocate.
New Zealand immigration authorities said they were "committed and passionate about helping people get favourable outcomes" for people willing to come forward and help clampdown on such scams but that unless people were willing to do so, an investigation couldn't take place.
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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.
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