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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Restrictions on Immigration

The principal legislation controlling immigration into New Zealand is the Immigration Act 1964, and the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Act 1919.

Most persons of British stock are admitted freely to New Zealand but certain classes of persons, irrespective of nationality or race, are prohibited from entry. They include any person who is insane, or suffers from a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease, or has committed certain criminal offences, or is considered likely to be disloyal or disturbing to peace and order, or has deserted from an overseas ship, or requires an entry permit and does not possess one.

Since January 1962, all persons other than New Zealand citizens have been required to be in possession of entry permits before landing in New Zealand. Previously, unrestricted entry (subject to the above prohibited classes) was available to persons of British birth and parentage and wholly of European origin. In the present legislation there is no suggestion of discrimination on the grounds of race or colour. Temporary permits for up to six months may be granted to visitors for the purposes of business, pleasure, or health, and there is provision also for temporary entry for educational purposes.

The Department of Labour analysed for 1962 the decisions on applications made under the Immigration Restriction Act of 1908 for entry into New Zealand. The analysis excluded British and Dutch assisted immigrants, and permits issued by overseas offices (which related principally to persons of British birth and parentage): in the main it covered alien applications. Decisions were made on 5,420 applications (some applications covered more than one person), and the entry of students was approved in 400 cases (91 per cent), entry of visitors in 2,614 cases (92 per cent), and admission of persons for permanent residence in 1,297 cases (61 per cent). Applications covered 55 nationalities (African being treated for convenience as one only), and approvals were given for 54, the single Syrian application being declined. This analysis seems to support the Department's claim that the admission of persons of other nationalities into New Zealand is determined solely by the merits of each case, and particularly on the ground that the applicant can fit reasonably well into our society.