Visa over stayers reach new low in New Zealand

by Ray Clancy on May 10, 2016

The number of people who are overstaying their visa arrangements in New Zealand has reduced considerably and is now at its lowest since 2000.

Latest estimates puts the number of over stayers at 10,848, a considerable decrease of more than 1,300 on the previous estimate of 12,162 in October 2014. The estimated rate of overstaying, the number of over stayers compared with the number of temporary arrivals, is very small by international standards at around 3.5 in 10,000 or 0.035%.

“The latest figures show the Government’s focus on improved security at the border and decisive action to deal with over stayers continues to pay dividends,” said Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

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He pointed out that the current estimate is 45% lower than the over stayer estimate a decade ago of more than 20,000. At the same time, removal and deportation costs have more than halved from $3 million in 2005/06 to $1.3 million in 2014/2015.

“Better risk profiling during the visa application process, combined with an increased focus on encouraging over stayers to settle their affairs, pay their own costs for departure and leave New Zealand voluntarily has also contributed to the significant decrease in numbers,” Wood explained.

The latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show that visitor arrivals numbered 344,400 in March 2016, with an earlier Easter break helping to produce a new March record. Visitor arrivals were up 52,600 or 18% from March 2015, with holidaymakers driving the increase.

“More visitors arriving from Australia, China, and the US helped create a new March record. The Queensland and Victoria school holidays coinciding with an early Easter break saw more visitors from these Australian states in particular,” said population statistics manager Jo-Anne Skinner .

In the March 2016 year, visitor arrivals hit a record 3.26 million, up 10 percent from the March 2015 year. Annual visitor arrivals broke the three million mark in the year ended July 2015, and have been rising steadily since.

The data also shows that the annual net gain in migrants is a new record for the 20th month in a row. Seasonally adjusted figures showed a net gain of more arrivals than departures of 5,300 migrants in March 2016. The net gain in migrants was down from 6,000 in February 2016.

New Zealand’s annual net gain of migrants has reached a new high for the 20th month in a row, with an unadjusted figure of 67,600 in the March 2016 year. Migrant arrivals drove the new high, with 124,100 migrants arriving in the March 2016 year. A quarter of these were New Zealand citizens returning.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Simon Bridges has pointed out that in the last year alone some 18 new air routes have been announced, making it easier for New Zealanders to travel and trade internationally. These includes new services to India and New Caledonia. New Zealand airlines now have the opportunity to code-share to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.

Bridges explained that the Government’s liberal International Air Transport Policy is bringing many benefits to New Zealand. “Since the policy was implemented in 2012 more than 50 new or amended air agreements have been negotiated, bringing the total to 78. Most of the major airlines in the world are now able to operate services to New Zealand without restriction, with 18 new air routes announced in the past year alone,” he said.

“Our success in negotiating Air Services Agreements is providing New Zealand access to a large wealth of benefits including tourism and trade. We’ll continue our efforts to grow and enhance these connections, making it easier for New Zealanders to travel and trade internationally,” he added.


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