Indians and Fijians among Overstayers

Venkat Raman

Indians (presumably from India) and Fijians are among the three top overstayers according to Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

He said that as at the end of October 2014, there were 790 Indians and 699 Fijians listed as overstayers, up from respectively 785 and 771 as at the end of the corresponding period in 2013.

People from Tonga topped the list at 2536 persons, followed by Samoans (2451). These figures also accounted for a decline respectively 2889 and 2686 from October 2013.

Peak Year 2004

A Report released by Mr Woodhouse on December 22, 2014 said that 2004 was peak year for overstayers with 1066 Indians, 750 Fijians, 2496 Tongans and 3900 Samoans. These figures, released at the end of April that year, listed 952 Americans and 1292 British on the Overstayers List.

The latest figures placed the total number of overstayers from all over the world at 12,162, down from 13,151 listed as at the end of October 2013 and 20,318 in April 2004.

Small and declining

Mr Woodhouse described the number as ‘very small’ by international standards at around four persons every 10,000 (0.04%) population.

He took the figures registered as at October 2005 (19,800) for analysis.

“The latest figures show that the government’s focus on improved security at the border and decisive action to deal with overstayers is paying dividends. The current number is 39% lower than the nearly 20,000 overstayers in 2005. At the same time, removal and deportation costs have more than halved from $3 million in 2005-2006 to $1.2 million in 2013-2014, which represents significant savings for the taxpayer,” he said.

Mr Woodhouse said that the government’s priority is to provide better public services and that the continued drop in overstayer numbers was an example of agencies working better and smarter with less expense to the taxpayer.

Sound strategy

The number of overstayers has come down also because of the increasing focus on encouraging overstayers to settle their affairs, pay their own costs for departure and leave New Zealand voluntarily.

“I applaud the work being done by Immigration New Zealand and other agencies in preventing more high-risk travellers arriving in New Zealand and ensuring that those who do overstay leave quickly,” Mr Woodhouse said.

According to him, 1026 persons were refused entry during the fiscal year 2013-2014, up from 777 persons shown during the corresponding period in the previous financial year.

“In addition, 1743 people were denied boarding during 2013-2014, compared with 1634 persons during the 2012-13 year,” Mr Woodhouse said.

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