Australia, New Zealand to share fingerprint data

17:48, August 16, 2010      

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New Zealand and Australian immigration officials have begun sharing fingerprint information, hoping to crack down on criminals and people trying to get into the country with false identity papers.

Not everyone coming into the country would be fingerprinted, but the measure was primarily aimed at people applying for refugee status, particularly those with no identity or with no passports, said Immigration NZ program manager for identity and biometrics Arron Baker.

"It's a small scale arrangement but it's significant in that this is the first time that we have been running a biometric matching agreement international from an immigration point of view, " the New Zealand Press Association quoted Baker as saying.

Immigration NZ has a database of about 4,700 fingerprints collected from people trying to illegally enter the country over a number of years.

The system will help Immigration NZ combat fraud and strengthen border security by helping identify early in the immigration process people with criminal histories or those using false identities, Baker said.

One-hundred-and-thirty false identities are detected at New Zealand borders every year.



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