Tongans do not have the highest percentage of overstayers, says Massey prof

Massey University’s Professor Paul Spoonley said this morning that Tongans did not have the highest percentage of overstayers in New Zealand.

Last week the New Zealand Herald quoted Professor Spoonley as saying there were now legal options for Pacific Islanders to enter New Zealand.

“Spoonley said programmes such as the Recognised Employer Scheme had provided a legal employment option, especially for Tongans – the top nationality of overstayers,” the Herald said.

The Massey academic told radio New Zealand this morning that the number of Tongan and Samoan overstayers in New Zealand had halved in the past 17 years.

He 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,” Spoonley said.

“It’s not like a league table where Tongans are number one.”

His comments followed the release of a report showing that since 2000, the number of overstayers had dropped from about 20,000, to just over 10,000.

Last week Kaniva News reported comments from Immigration New Zealand saying most of the overstayers  had been on a visitor visa (6735), followed by work visas (1981) and student visas (1523).

The main points

  • Massey University’s Professor Paul Spoonley said this morning that Tongans did not have the highest percentage of overstayers in New Zealand.
  • He said the number of Tongan and Samoan overstayers in New Zealand had halved in the past 17 years.

For more information 

Significant drop in Tongan and Samoan overstayer figures

Immigration: Overstayer numbers have nearly halved from ten years ago 

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