Immigration NZ says it’s “impractical” to carry out checks on all temporary entry visa applications.
A British man attacked an Australian tourist in Queenstown in January – less than six weeks after he was convicted of a similar offence in Australia.
Earlier this week, 25-year-old Robert Mangan was sentenced to 21 months’ jail for what Judge Christina Cook called a “cowardly” attack on Aaron Rice Williams.
Immigration NZ (INZ) general manager John Ivil says his department relies on applicants to fill out forms truthfully and it’s an offence to make a false declaration.
“When we become aware that applicants have provided misleading or false information we act decisively to maintain the integrity of the immigration system.”
Mangan received a two-year suspended sentence in a New South Wales court in December last year on a charge of reckless grievous bodily harm arising from a fight in a Sydney bar in 2012.
He flew to New Zealand two days after the conviction, breaching his probation conditions and prompting a warrant being issued for his arrest. He received a New Zealand working holiday visa after failing to declare the conviction.
New Zealand authorities did not receive a border alert and authorities did not stop Mangan from leaving Australia.
Police national headquarters senior media adviser Jillian Reid says she can’t comment on what Australian authorities ”did or did not do”, but there was no Interpol alert on Mangan when he arrived in NZ.
Ivil says it’s up to the country in which an arrest warrant was issued to notify Interpol of outstanding warrants.
“When this happens, INZ is notified by Interpol and an alert is placed in our systems against that passenger.”
The Immigration Act 2009 prohibits entry to NZ for anyone convicted of an offence in the previous 10 years for which the person has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 12 months or more.
Ivil says people applying for residence or temporary entry for two years or longer had to provide a police certificate.
However, it’s “impractical” to carry out such checks on all temporary entry visa applications.
In the year to June 30, 1345 people were refused entry at the New Zealand border, compared with 1026 people during the previous 12 months.
In most cases, entry was denied because the person was considered likely to breach visa conditions or did not meet character requirements.
Two people were refused entry at Queenstown’s airport earlier this week – including a British man who told a Customs officer he had used cannabis and MDMA and, if given the opportunity, would do so again.
Otago Daily Times