INZ accepts review recommendations relating to the detention of asylum seekers

Published: 03 May 2022

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) welcomes the recommendations of the independent review of its processes and procedures relating to the detention of asylum seekers.

The review, which was commissioned by INZ and undertaken by Victoria Casey QC, looks at INZ’s operational practices, the structure of the detention regime under the Immigration Act 2009, and the appropriateness of the use of Police and Corrections facilities to detain asylum seekers.

The closing of New Zealand’s borders due to COVID-19 provided INZ with an opportunity to look at areas of operational guidance in relation to asylum seekers and we have already started updating our procedures to better align with UNHCR guidelines.

There are currently no asylum seekers in detention and there has not been for the past 2 years.

This review allows INZ to build on these changes, and we intend to act on the recommendations.

We will review and change our operational guidance and decision-making framework relating to restricting the movement of asylum seekers, to ensure those comply with our human rights obligations.

We will work with Police and the Department of Corrections to explore the provision of, and access to key support and services to asylum seekers where it is necessary for them to be in short-term detention.

The Police are responsible for detaining an asylum seeker at the initial point of detention and the Department of Corrections is responsible for the ongoing welfare of individuals detained in its facilities for longer stays.

Currently only a small number of people are detained under the Immigration Act each year so INZ does not have an alternative facility for those who need to de detained if required. Police and Corrections custody has been the default.

From 2015 to 2020 there were 2,655 asylum seekers in New Zealand, of whom 86 were detained.

INZ has set up a group to work through the recommendations, make decisions and implement changes.

Last updated: 03 May 2022