New System Will Clamp Down on Immigration Scams

  • Max Bradford

A new computer system launched today will help clamp down on scams and ensure immigration makes the maximum positive social and economic contribution to New Zealand, Immigration Minister Max Bradford said today.

The New Zealand Immigration Service today launched the Applications Management System (AMS) which integrates 12 separate IT systems and is believed to be one of the biggest databases in the world.

"AMS replaces an unwieldy and fragmented old system, which means major efficiency gains for NZIS. In addition it puts comprehensive information at the fingertips for research, evaluation and policy."

Mr Bradford said the new system would help the Government meet its immigration goals in several ways.

"The vastly enhanced efficiency of the system will ease entry for tourists and visitors to New Zealand."

Mr Bradford said the system would also assist in clamping down on immigration scams. It would improve risk management by capturing and profiling all customer movements through the border and contact with NZIS.

"We live in a very desirable country and it is amazing what lengths people go to and what incredible scams they devise to get here when legitimate avenues are closed because they do not fit the character or skills that we want to attract.

"Up until now we've had very little accurate information about what happens to people once they enter New Zealand. AMS means we'll be able to track overstayers with far greater accuracy.

"Most importantly, we'll be able to correlate asylum arrivals with the increasing involvement of organized crime."

Numbers gaining entry to seek asylum in New Zealand have doubled each year from 347 application in 1993 to 1340 application (representing 2500 people) last year. Yet in that time only 28 percent of those applications were assessed as genuine.

"AMS will help ensure that our immigration system will be much more difficult to exploit. I want to make sure New Zealand attracts and admit migrants who are going to make a positive contribution to our society and economy."

New Zealand Customs will also have access to the information to check for passenger alerts as well as recording passenger movements.