Kiwis now make up the second largest population of migrants in Aussie detention centres.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, new figures show 184 New Zealanders are presently being held in immigration detention. Iranian migrants make up the largest proportion, with 407 being held.
The shock rise in detainees from Australia’s southern neighbour and closest ally is a result of the application since December of a new strict ‘character test’ to assess visa holders, says the report.
Failure of the character test includes if a person has been sentenced to prison for a year or more.
Since the changes to section 501 of the Immigration Act, which allowed for the new test, 444 New Zealanders had their Australian visas cancelled.
According to SBS, Australia’s multicultural television network, as many as 75 Kiwis and Pacific islanders are detained in the detention centre at Christmas Island.
Unacceptable, says NZ politician
David Shearer, the foreign affairs spokesman for NZ’s Labour Party, says Kiwis are being treated unfairly.
“Australia is dumping on New Zealand some of the laws that they’ve put in for other reasons to satisfy their domestic constituency and we are, in a sense, carrying the brunt of it,” he said.
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