9 Oct 2017

Significant drop in Tongan and Samoan overstayer figures

10:05 am on 9 October 2017

The number of Tongan and Samoan overstayers in New Zealand has halved in the past 17 years.

Airport arrivals board showing New Zealand and Pacific countries

Photo: RNZ/Sara Vui-Talitu

A new report by Massey University for Immigration New Zealand says that since 2000, the number of overstayers has dropped from about 20,000, to just over 10,000.

The university's Paul Spoonley said the drop in overstayers from the two countries accounted for two-thirds of the overall drop in overstayer numbers.

Professor Spoonley also said reports that the Tongan community had the highest percentage of overstayers was incorrect.

"It's quite a complicated picture and it depends on visa approvals and denials, so there are a number of groups from various countries who overstay particular visa categories. It's not like a league table where Tongans are number one."

Paul Spoonley said initiatives such as the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme and new systems for monitoring visas are some of the reasons for the drop.

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