New figures have revealed that 550 overstayers and convicted criminals have been deported this year, and show which countries they were sent to.

Up until August 31 this year, most people deported were sent to Samoa, India, China, Fiji and Tonga.

Of the 550, just 108 were females.

The information, provided to the Herald by Immigration New Zealand, also shows the finalised deportation figures for the 2011 calendar year.


In total, 664 people were deported - 149 women and 515 men. Again, Samoa was the leading country for deportations.

A person can be deported from New Zealand for three reasons. Some are criminals and others have overstayed their visa limit.

A smaller number are subject to a residence deportation - where they have held permanent residency but have become liable for deportation, usually because of criminal offending.

"People unlawfully in New Zealand are case managed according to their circumstances," an Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman said.

"Those engaged in criminality are the highest priority for deportation. We work with the police and other agencies to ensure this process is as efficient as possible.

"However, the majority of those unlawfully in New Zealand are not criminals. They choose to remain here for a number of reasons such as employment and family. In these cases, we focus more attention in engaging with the individual and actively case managing them towards what we call a voluntary departure."

A change to the Immigration Act in 2010 led to the number of deportations jumping by more than 2000 per cent.

The Immigration Act 1987 states that a deportation occurs when someone holding a New Zealand residence permit is convicted of an offence. Between 2007 and November 2010 just 118 people were forced out of the country.


However the act was amended so deportation describes "all processes for requiring a foreign national who has no right to remain in New Zealand to leave".

Since the change, the majority of deportations have been overstayers. But more than 500 people have been deported for crime-related reasons.

Sent home

550 deportations (up to August 31, 2012) :

Top nationalities deported

Samoa - 80
India - 64
China - 56
Fiji - 51
Tonga - 46
Malaysia - 36
Thailand - 27
Britain - 26
Sri Lanka - 16
Indonesia - 15.