NEW ZEALAND TO TIGHTEN IMMIGRATION LAWS

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 31, 2004) - New Zealand’s government is planning to tighten its citizenship laws to bring them into line with Australia.

Officials say some migrants are exploiting easier entry requirements across the Tasman:

New Zealand citizenship guarantees visa free access to Australia. At the moment you only have to be a resident of New Zealand for three years before you can apply for a citizenship, a passport and then be allowed easy access to Australia.

But, New Zealand’s ethnic affairs minister Chris Carter says would-be citizens will now have to live in New Zealand for five-years instead of three.

"In the age of international terrorism where countries are much more sensitive about new migrants coming in, the Australians are very keen we would have similar citizenship regulations," he said.

The government hopes the new law will be in place by next year."

September 1, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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