5 Dec 2003

New Zealand moves to curb overstayers from Kiribati and Tuvalu

9:46 am on 5 December 2003

The New Zealand Government says the number of overstayers from Tuvalu and Kiribati is behind its demand that visitors from there and Nauru apply for visas.

The New Zealand Immigration Minister, Liana Dalziel, says the changes will apply from Monday.

Visa waivers for a number of Pacific countries were introduced 17 years ago but a short time later, after a surge visitor numbers, visa requirements were put back in place for all but Tuvalu, Nauru and Kiribati.

She says the move is to provide a consistent visa policy for all Pacific countries.

Ms Dalziel says a large percentage of visitors from Tuvalu and Kiribati overstay.

"probably in the hundreds rather than in the thousands, you know, the total number of overstayers in New Zealand at any one time is probably heading towards the 18 thousand mark, and they would be hundreds of rather than thousands ot that, so they are certainly not up there numbers wise"

Ms Dalziel also says they will need to apply to the New Zealand Immigration Service office in Suva for the visitors visas.