NZ visa overstayer numbers at 14-year low

New figures show that fewer people are staying in New Zealand past the expiry of their visa than at any time since 2000.

A new report from October 2014 puts the number of overstayers at 12,162 – a significant decrease of 989 on the previous estimate of 13,151 in September 2013.

“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,” said New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse. “The current number is 39 per cent lower than the nearly 20,000 overstayers in 2005. At the same time, removal and deportation costs have more than halved from NZ $3 million in 2005/06 to $1.2 million in 2013/14, which represents significant savings for the taxpayer.

“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.”

Mr Woodhouse says 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.”

In the 2013/14 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 2013/14, compared with 1,634 during the 2012/13 year.

Article published 22nd December 2014