NZ Joining Network Of Asylum Tests

NZ joining network of asylum tests

The New Zealand Herald
4:00AM Saturday Aug 22, 2009

New Zealand is expected to join a five-nation data-sharing network to check fingerprints of people applying for asylum or resisting deportation to help uncover hidden pasts.

Thousands of suspect asylum seekers and foreign prisoners in Britain are to have their fingerprints checked with other countries, under a data-sharing deal being signed yesterday with Australia and Canada, London's Daily Telegraph reported.

“The United States and New Zealand are also expected to sign up in the near future as part of a five-country network,” the newspaper reported.

In one test of the system, a man claiming asylum in Britain as a Somali was discovered to be an Australian wanted for rape in his home country.

The Home Office said all prints would remain anonymous unless a match was made and that up to 3000 checks would be made in the first year.

The process will help detect asylum-seekers with criminal histories or to identify people claiming a different name or nationality.

Former Immigration Minister David Cunliffe said in 2006 that a cabinet review had decided to enhance border security by giving officials the ability to collect and use “specified biometric information” for identity verification purposes.