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Immigration NZ – Data Profiling

Immigration NZ is currently engineering a data modelling tool. Here’s everything you need to know.

This project, which has been running for the past 18 months, has now made its way to the media. Since its airing on RNZ, Immigration NZ has received a huge backlash for fears of racial profiling. Immigration NZ has been quick to dispel this claim and state that their data does not include statistics on ethnicity.

What is the immigration data project?

Immigration New Zealand’s data modelling project, uses age, gender and previous files lodged with Immigration NZ to identify likely troublemakers. The profiling tool analyses historical information on approximately 11,000 illegal immigrants, including their country of origin, whether they have been involved with the police, been illegally employed, or used health services to which they were not entitled. This data will then be used to forecast the negative impact individuals might be expected to have in future.

What does Immigration NZ define as a trouble maker

Immigration NZ will use its data to identify someone who:

  • Has previously lodged a failed visa application. This is seen as wasting Immigration NZ’s resources which is why it’s important to always use a licensed immigration advisor. Woburn International ensures you get your application correct the first time.
  • Shares enough similarities with those groups who cost the tax payer. This is misuse or overuse of social services such as the health system or the criminal justice system.

How does this affect immigrants in New Zealand?

If the data profiling project goes ahead, it would allow Immigration NZ to move faster to deport immigrants rather than prosecuting or allowing them to reapply for visas.

Woburn International fights for immigration rights

The New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment said the programme is tantamount to accusing all migrants irrespective of their country of origin.

“This approach appears to be another way of reducing migrant numbers. An individual will be deported or refused entry due to their background being similar according to computer profiling rather than actual facts,” said association chair June Ranson. Contact us today for an immigration advisor who cares.

Ranson said declining a visa or deporting someone based upon a statistical likelihood they may offend was unfair and a breach of natural justice.

“Our main concern is if statistical data is used to assess the ‘genuine and stable’ nature of a relationship in partnership-based applications,” she said.

“We believe this could critically undermine the applicants’ and their NZ partners’ rights in the protection of their family unit and that is something protected by international law.” See our last article on New Zealand’s tougher stance on Partnership Visas.

Latest update

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has told Immigration NZ to suspend the pilot of the new programme to use data to model the risk factors of new migrants. Currently, the project is being checked by both the Privacy Commission and Human Rights Commission. To ensure you’re in safe hands when dealing with Immigration NZ, contact a licenced immigration advisor today.