Visa overstayer numbers in New Zealand drop dramatically

by Ray Clancy on January 8, 2015

The number of people overstaying their visa arrangements in New Zealand is at its lowest level since 2000, the latest data shows.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said it is a sign that immigration officials and border controls are working well.

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In October 2014, the number of overstayers was put at just 12,162

The most up to date figures show that in October 2014, the number of overstayers was put at 12,162, a significant decrease of 989 on the previous estimate of 13,151 in September 2013.

The estimated rate of overstaying, the number of overstayers compared with the number of temporary arrivals, is very small by international standards at around four in 10,000 or 0.04%.

“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,” Woodhouse said.

“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 pointed out.

“Providing better public services is a priority area for the Government and the continued drop in overstayer numbers are an example of agencies working better and smarter, with less expense to the taxpayer,” he added.

He also pointed out that the overstayer numbers have also come down 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,” he concluded.

The data also shows that in the 2013/2014 financial year 1,026 people were refused entry when they arrived at the New Zealand border, a significant increase on the previous year’s figure of 777.

In addition, 1,743 people were denied boarding during 2013/2014, compared with 1,634 during the 2012/2013 year.

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