Canberra, Nov 19 (IANS) Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday said his government has deported 12 New Zealand expatriates under the new immigration laws.
Dutton said the 12 deportees had failed the “character test and weren’t welcome on our soil”, Xinhua news agency reported.
A recent amendment to Australia’s Migration Act, which came into effect late last year, allows the federal government to involuntarily cancel the visas of foreigners who have spent more than one year in jail, or have been convicted of sexual offences against children.
Dutton said the Australian government has struck a deal with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to release the 12 detainees on the condition that they permanently relocate back across the Tasman Sea.
“We’ve done a lot of work with the Key government and we have put in place an arrangement where we can return them,” Dutton said.
The latest data from Australia’s Immigration Department states 184 New Zealanders have been placed in detention centres across the country, awaiting deportation.
A thousand more Kiwis could be detained and subsequently deported if the policy remains unchanged.