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17,500 Overstayers - Where Are They?

Media Release

5 May 2008

17,500 Overstayers - Where Are They?

Figures obtained by New Zealand First show that 17,485 people were illegally in New Zealand at the time of the most recent overstayer sample in October.

Associate immigration spokesperson Peter Brown says it is staggering that such a large number of people are currently in this country illegally.

“To put such figures into perspective, the number of overstayers hiding from authorities here is the equivalent of the entire population of Whakatane or Ashburton,” said Mr Brown.

“Overstayers have been an issue since the 1970s, yet the Immigration Service is still unable to effectively control our borders. Perhaps it is time for the government to follow the United Kingdom and consider introducing a bond for non-tourists visiting our shores, to be forfeited if the visitor fails to leave or comply with their visa requirements.

“Such a bond would not only encourage visitors to leave when they should by providing financial penalty for non-compliance, but relieve the taxpayer of some of the cost of finding and removing overstayers,” said Mr Brown.


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