A Tongan community leader says the strong turnout of illegal immigrants at a meeting in Auckland on Friday shows people who are scared will front under the right conditions.
Immigration New Zealand had said it would not have border compliance staff at the meeting.
Hola Taue says the group of more than 50 people who met with lawyers from the Immigration Legal Support Trust will pass on what they heard to other overstayers.
Mrs Taue says ignorance of basic immigration law is a significant contributor to confusion but overstayers are not assisted by families who shelter them thinking it will help.
She says Immigration New Zealand must also take some blame because its administrative processes are often flawed.