Two Kiwi-born Australian citizens illegally detained by Border Force

Australia Border Force
Photo credit: AAP

Two New Zealand-born Australian citizens have been illegally detained and sent to a detention centre on Christmas Island, in the latest controversy involving Australia's Border Force.

The men were arrested under the Migration Act, which permits detention or deportation if Australia's immigration minister or an appointed person judges that a non-citizen fails the "character test" - usually for committing a criminal offence, the Guardian reports.

"Two individuals were detained after their visas were cancelled mandatorily under section 501, an Immigration Department spokesperson told the Guardian on Tuesday.

"After it was identified that each individual held dual Australian citizenship, arrangements were immediately made for their release from immigration detention.

"The circumstances surrounding their detention have been reviewed and appropriate safeguards have been implemented."

It's the latest in a string of controversies involving Australia's Border Force. In 2015 after it announced it would stop and interrogate the visa status of "any individual we cross paths with" in Melbourne, public protests forced the organisation to cancel the plans.

The Border Force has also come under fire for illegally searching people and homes in Australia, and staff have been accused of sexual assault and abuse, including of children, at the immigration detention centre on Nauru.