23 Jul 2009

PIDC supports efforts to curb overstaying

3:39 pm on 23 July 2009

The chair of the organisation, the Pacific Immigration Directors Conference, says countries must assist each other to prevent people from overstaying their immigration permits.

New Zealand's Immigration Service said earlier Pacific Islanders form the bulk of the more than 16,000 overstayers in New Zealand, with Samoans and Tongans making up almost half that number.

The organisation's chair, Auseuga Poloma Komiti, says they take the issue seriously.

"It's the New Zealand authorities that have issued them [permits] but where we can, yes we'll help them out. And we recognise that in the whole scheme of things, overstaying is in the law scale, but overstaying is still a breach of the law and we would be helping out where we can."

Auseuga Poloma Komiti says many other nations in the region also face illegal entry problems, but they are mostly used as transit points for Australia, New Zealand and the United States.