Biometric Information: Enhancing Immigration Security in New Zealand

Discover how INZ uses biometric information to confirm identity, detect fraud, and improve public safety in New Zealand.

In today’s world, where identity fraud and terrorist activities have become a global challenge, the importance of secure and efficient border management cannot be overstated. Biometric technology has emerged as a crucial tool to combat these challenges, and Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is one of the government agencies that have fully embraced this technology.

Biometric information refers to unique physical or behavioural characteristics of individuals that can be used to identify and authenticate them. In New Zealand, INZ collects biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs, to confirm the identity of foreigners seeking resettlement, refugees, deportees, and people suspected of breaching the Act.

The use of biometric information has many benefits for New Zealand, particularly in enhancing border security, combating identity fraud, and ensuring public safety. Let's delve deeper into how biometric information is used by INZ.

Detecting Identity Fraud Using Biometric Information

One of the primary benefits of biometric information is its ability to detect identity fraud. INZ uses facial recognition technology to compare a person's photograph with a stored version to confirm their identity. This technology is also used to detect people who use false identities to claim refugee status or hide their criminal records.

The use of biometric information to detect identity fraud reduces the cost of managing the border and enables early detection of fraud, which improves public safety by limiting the ability of criminals and terrorists to slip through.

How INZ Uses Biometric Information

Under the Immigration Act 2009, INZ can gather biometric information from foreigners seeking resettlement, refugees, deportees, and people suspected of breaching the Act. Biometric information is collected when a person applies for a visa, and they have the right to dispute its accuracy.

INZ Uses Biometric Information to

  • Identify and check the identity of foreigners seeking resettlement
  • Help identify refugees under New Zealand’s quota program
  • Identify and check people under investigation at the border
  • Record the identity of deportees and stop them from re-entering New Zealand under another identity
  • Identify and check people suspected of breaching the Act
  • Expose assumed identities.

Biometric Information Sharing

New Zealand is a member of the Five Country Conference (FCC), an international agreement between New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. This agreement allows members to share fingerprint information to detect immigration and identity fraud.

When a member requests fingerprint information from another, the receiving country destroys the fingerprint if no match is found. Members do not share biographical data like names or personal details unless they match a fingerprint, and they don’t share their own citizens’ data.


The use of biometric information by INZ has significantly enhanced New Zealand’s border security, combated identity fraud, and ensured public safety. Biometric technology has revolutionized border management globally, and its importance in today’s world cannot be overstated.

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