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New Act disciplines education providers

The new Immigration Act will come into effect on November 29, 2010.

The Statute would bring about substantial changes to the existing rules and regulations that were enforced in 1987.

Considering the substantial changes that have occurred globally, including skills shortage, increased travel, heightened border pressure and other factors, there was a need to overhaul the Immigration Act.

Key changes under the new act include using the single term ‘Visa’ for authority to travel and stay in New Zealand. The terms ‘Permit’ and ‘Exemption’ will no longer be used and the title ‘Immigration Officer’ will replace ‘Visa Officer.’

These changes will promote healthy practices and encourage people with the right skills and attitude to come to New Zealand.

Education providers enrolling students not entitled to study in New Zealand will face up to $50,000 in penalties.

The Act introduces a new ‘Interim Visa’ system to help maintain an individual’s lawful status in New Zealand while a new temporary visa application is under consideration.

This provision is due to come into effect early next year.

Sponsors of temporary migrants will now be responsible not only for their accommodation and food but also all other costs, including medical, deportation, repatriation and costs to the Government.

Sponsors cannot withdraw their sponsorship while the visitor is in the country. If the visitor leaves New Zealand without paying any debt, the sponsor would still be liable. Defaulters will not be able to sponsor anyone until the debt is settled in full.

The changes also allow for organisations, businesses and government agencies to sponsor individuals including students. Sponsorship is now an ongoing condition of a visa.

‘Permanent Resident Visas’ will replace ‘Indefinite Returning Resident’s Visas.’

Funds Transfer Scheme

International students are required to provide proof of sufficient funds to meet their tuition fees and meet the cost of living expenses in New Zealand. But in reality, many overseas students do not bring sufficient funds, hoping to secure part-time work to help finance their stay here.

The New Delhi branch of Immigration New Zealand has proposed to introduce a system called, Funds Transfer Scheme’ that would oblige all students to open a bank account in New Zealand prior to their departure and transfer funds to meet tuition fees and living expenses for at least one year.

The transferred amount will be held in a Savings Account in the name of the student and locked for 12 months. The student will not have access to more than 1/12th of the amount deposited plus the accrued interest.

The new Act establishes a flexible approach to monitoring and detaining foreign nationals who are considered a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or the security and safety of New Zealand.

This includes arrest and detention for up to 96 hours by the Police and detention under a court-issued ‘warrant of commitment’ for up to 28 days.

Subject to Cabinet approval, the new Act provides immigration officers with powers hither to restricted to the Police and Customs Officers to enter planes or ships and conduct search operations.

Arunima Dhingra is Director, Aims Global Education & Immigration Services Ltd and a licensed immigration adviser based in Auckland, with a Consultancy office in India. She can be contacted on (09) 9191930. Email: info@aimsglobaleducation.com

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