Prime Minister Henry Puna, who tabled the Bill in Parliament last week, said the committee had until the end of September this year to file a report on their findings.
The Immigration Bill select committee will be chaired by Minister of Internal Affairs and Education Mac Mokoroa, and include Members of Parliament Patrick Arioka, Te Hani Brown, Tai Tura, Leader of the Opposition Tina Browne, Tama Tuavera and Vaitoti Tupa.
Henry Puna, who is also the Immigration minister, told Parliament a change to the Immigration legal landscape had been demanded by the people, across all segments of society for some years now.
Puna said his government heeded that call. He is confident the Bill ensures an effective national immigration service that:
- enhances the security of borders and therefore people; and
- facilitates the movement of persons into and out of the Cook Islands in a manner which supports the evolving national economic, social and cultural priorities.
The Bill is a result of an extensive consultation process involving a broad cross section of Cook Islands society, in Rarotonga, the pa enua and the diaspora over the last two years.
Kairangi Samuela, the Principal Immigration Officer, said the new legislation and regulations have been drafted to ensure a fair, fit for purpose and future proofed framework.
“… that can accommodate future evolutions in available technology and the legal fora whilst preserving the foundation values and interests of our country and society could not be more delighted to have reached this stage.
“I’m excited by the offering of the bill for the administration of our national immigration service and the modernisation of our operations.”